Israeli Lunar Lander Suffers Computer Reset Cancelling Thruster Maneuver

Israeli Beresheet moon lander mission timeline and
trajectory. Credit: SpaceIL/IAI
Ken
Kremer —
SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
— 26 February 2019


CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –  Isreal’s first moon mission ‘Beresheet’ suffered
a computer glitch Monday evening Feb 25 forcing cancellation of its second
planned orbit raising thruster firing maneuver as it continues on its current orbit to reach
the Moon in about two months, according to the SpaceIL team leading the
mission.



The thruster firing of the probes main engine
had been scheduled for Tuesday 12 a.m. Israel local time or 5 p.m. Monday, Feb
25.  



“Last night at around 12
a.m. Israel time, another maneuver was planned for Beresheet as it passed near
Earth, in an area without communication,” SpaceIL and IAI’s engineering team said in a Feb. 26 statement.
 



During the pre-maneuver
phase the spacecraft computer reset unexpectedly, causing the maneuver to be
automatically cancelled.”

The Beresheet lunar lander is a joint endeavor funded
and built by Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
It marks Israel’s first lunar mission and also counts as being the world’s first
privately funded lunar mission.



The lunar landing had been expected on April 11 if all goes
well. 



Otherwise the probe
remains healthy and in communication with Israeli ground controllers.



“Communication between
the control center and the spacecraft remains as planned, and Beresheet
continues its previous orbit until the next maneuver. We will continue to
provide updates regularly.”



In the meantime
engineers continue to analyze the telemetry and determine a way forward.



“The engineering teams
of SpaceIL and IAI are examining the data and analyzing the situation. At this
time, the spacecraft’s systems are working well, except for the known problem
in the star tracker.”
 
Beresheet
lunar lander provided by Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace
Industries (IAI) for launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 on Feb 21, 2019. Credit Space
IL/IAI

Monday’s maneuver was to be the second of the
mission since it launched successfully last Thursday evening Feb 21 on a recycled
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Florida Space Coast.



The first firing took place as planned Feb 24
when Be
resheet’s main engine was successfully ignited at 1:29 p.m. Israel time
(6:29 a.m. EST).



“Beresheet’s first maneuver was completed
successfully by SpaceIL and IAI’s engineering team. The planned maneuver took
into account the problems that were identified in the star trackers after
launch.”



“The 30-second maneuver was made at a distance of 69,400 km from Earth
and will increase the spacecraft’s closest point of approach to Earth to a
distance of 600 km.” 

Long duration streak shot of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 1st
launch of 2019 from Florida Space Coast delivering Nusantara
Satu communications satellite to Earth orbit for Indonesia and the privately
funded Beresheet moon launder on lunar trajectory for Israel after Feb 21, 2019
nighttime liftoff at 8:45 PM EST from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral
Air Force Station, FL – as moon rises at right. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Liftoff
of the recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying the
Nusantara Satu communications
satellite for Indonesia and the privately funded Beresheet moon launder for
Israel took place right on time
Thursday evening Feb. 21 at 8:45 p.m. EST (0145 GMT Friday) at the opening of the 32 minute long launch window
from Space
Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.



To date only three countries have successfully
landed on the Moon- the US, Russia and China and those were all government run
missions.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on 1st launch
of 2019 from Florida Space Coast delivering Nusantara Satu communications
satellite to Earth orbit for Indonesia and privately funded Beresheet moon launder
on lunar trajectory for Israel after Feb 21, 2019 nighttime liftoff at 8:45 PM
EST  from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Beresheet was developed at a cost of almost $100
million and will be the world’s first privately funded and developed moon
lander.



The Falcon 9 launch propelled Beresheet onto the proper
trajectory to begin a series of 4 elongating long looping orbits to gradually
reach the moon.



The four landing legs were deployed as planned soon after
launch.



Beresheet, which in Hebrew
means “genesis” or “in the beginning” was one of the competitors for the now
defunct Google Lunar XPrize.



If successful it will be
the smallest spacecraft to ever land on the Moon, at only 1,322 lbs, or 600 kgs,
fueled. The probe has an unfueled mass of 180 kg. 



Beresheet is traveling to the
Moon using its own power and thruster after launching as a rideshae payload.  

Artists concept of Israeli Beresheet lunar lander mission with
sponsors. Credit: SpaceIL/IAI

The voyage will take about  two months over several expanding elliptical orbits
– for the longest ever trip to Earth’s nearest neighbor
covering a total distance of 6.5 million km. 



It was
achieve orbit on April 4. If all goes well lunar touchdown was scheduled for
April 11 at Mare Serenitatis
(Sea of Serenity).



The impact
of the cancelled thruster firing is not yet known. 



It will transmit photos
and video from the lunar surface and conduct scientific measurements with a magnetometer
and laser retroreflector from NASA Goddard. Also onboard is aa

Israeli flag, a time capsule, and a lunar library. 



Beresheet has a lifetime of about 2 days. There
is no thermal control. The team hopes to make it hop about 500 meters before it
dies.



The moon probe measures 2 meters (6.6 ft) in
diameter and 1.5 meters in height. 



Watch my post launch interview
on i24 Isreali TV News here:




Dr. Ken Kremer/Space UpClose interviewed by i24
anchor Michelle Makori during Beresheet mission launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 from
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Feb 21, 2019

For more all on this
Fox 35 Orlando interviewed me about the
Nusantara Satu/Beresheet moon lander  launch and Mr. Steven’s arrival and fairing recovery goals. 


http://www.fox35orlando.com/news/local-news/spacex-plans-falcon-9-rocket-launch-for-thursday




Meanwhile the Falcon 9 first stage that
launched Beresheet and then safely touched down on the OCISLY droneship at sea arrived
into Port Canaveral by tugboat Sunday morning, Feb 24, just 2.5 days after blastoff. 

3 Roundtrips to Space and
Back: This recovered SpaceX Falcon 9 booster soft landed atop OCISLY drone
ship sailed into Port Canaveral past Jetty Park Pier Sunday morning, Feb 24
towed
by Signet Warhorse tugboat just
2.5 days after launching
privately funded Israeli Beresheet moon lander Feb
21, 2019 and Indonesian Nusantara Satu comsat from Space Launch Complex-40 on
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. 
Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch for Ken’s continuing
onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
and more space and mission reports direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.



Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and
Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com



Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC
area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space
topics.

………….

Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events



Learn more about the upcoming/recent SpaceX Demo-1, Falcon 9 Nusantara Satu launch, USAF GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-16 launch
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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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