Israeli Beresheet Moon Lander Brakes into Lunar Orbit

Israeli Beresheet moon lander achieves lunar orbit after
completing six minute burn on 4 April 2019. Credit: SpaceIL 
Ken Kremer
SpaceUpClose.com &
RocketSTEM
– 4 April 2019


Barely
six weeks after blastoff from the Florida Space Coast, Israel’s privately built Beresheet Moon
lander fired its braking thrusters and was successfully captured into lunar
orbit this morning, Thursday, April 4, setting the stage for a thrilling
touchdown on Earth’s nearest neighbor one week from now on April 11.



The Beresheet
mission marks a historic achievement for Israel- becoming only the seventh
country to send a probe into lunar orbit- and for commercial space activities as
this tiny probe is the first privately funded mission to reach the Moon.  



The do
or die thruster firing of the crafts main engine began at 10:18 a.m. EDT,  1418 GMT, 5:18  p.m. Israeli time and lasted for six long
minutes as the team watched and waited.



The critical
maneuver was broadcast live from the Israeli control room so we could all
follow along as team members from SpaceIL who developed the mission  gave remarks that the firing had begun on time
and as planned – to loud cheers. 



Further
updates were provided as the engine firing progressed – until finally it was
completed.



The
successful outcome was announced a few minutes later to an eruption of cheers applause
and hugging all around from the team, invited guests and the media.







The six minute long thruster
braking firing of the crafts main engine slowed the craft by about 1000 km/h (600
mph) and sufficient for capture and enabling it to slip successfully into lunar
orbit. 

Artist’s concept shows Israeli Beresheet moon lander in
orbit around the moon. Credit: SpaceIL

Beresheet has now entered an elliptical orbit around the moon, with the
closest point 500 km to the moon and the farthest point 10,000 km. 

Beresheet’s velocity relative
to the moon was reduced from 8,500 km/h (5,281 mph) to 7,500 km/h (4,660 mph).
Israeli Beresheet moon lander mission
timeline and trajectory. Lunar orbit capture achieved as planned on April 4,
2019. Credit: SpaceIL/IAI

If the “Lunar Capture” maneuver had failed Beresheet would have gone into
a useless solar orbit and never enter orbit around the Moon and thus the
mission would have ended.



Instead Beresheet is a smashing success whatever comes next.  




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.



If all continues to go well lunar touchdown is scheduled for April
11 at Mare Serenitatis
(Sea of Serenity) on the Moon’s
northern hemisphere on the upper right side as seen from Earth.



To date Beresheet has now performed the lunar capture firing and seven prior thruster firings and traveled over
5.5 million km (3.4 million mi.) in its long looping orbits around Earth edging
closer to the Moon and has another million to go before the landing.



During its voyage to date it orbited Earth 12.5 times on ever expanding long
looping traverses:
seven at an altitude of 70,000 km (nearly 44,000 miles), two at an
altitude of 131,000 km (nearly 814,000 miles), two at an altitude of 265,000 km
(nearly 165,000 miles) and 1.5 at 420,000 km (over 260,000 miles).  

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

Liftoff
of the
private
Beresheet moon lander for Israel atop a
recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took place in the
evening of F
eb.
21 at 8:45 p.m. EST
(0145 GMT Friday) from Space
Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. 



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

It flew as a rideshare payload bolted to the primary payload
– namely
the
Nusantara Satu communications satellite for Indonesia



Watch my launch video here:

Video Caption: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying privately funded Israeli Beresheet moon
lander and Indonesian Nusantara Satu comsat
roars to life Feb. 21, 2019, 8:45 p.m. ET from Space Launch Complex-40
on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
– as seen in this video camera stationed at pad. Credit: Ken
Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com





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




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

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

Overall the voyage takes
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 will transmit panoramic
photos and video from the lunar surface and conduct scientific measurements
with a magnetometer and laser retroreflector from NASA. Also onboard is an 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 2.3 meters (7.5 ft) in
diameter and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) in height.
Watch my post thruster maneuver interview on i24 Isreali TV News
on Mar 19 here:

With lunar orbit capture of
the Israeli lunar lander spacecraft 
#Beresheet
upcoming soon on April 4, here’s
my full interview on i24 TV News live with Anchor 
Michelle Makori on March 19, 2019 discussing the
status of Beresheet’s last major thruster firing + landing prospects Apr 11.
And potential US space cooperation with Brazil as a rocket launch base.
Beresheet landing is slated for April 11. It launched on a 
#SpaceX #Falcon9 rocket on 21 Feb. 2019 from Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.
Watch my post launch
interview on i24 Isreali TV News here:
For more on all this
Fox 35 Orlando interviewed me about the
Nusantara Satu/Beresheet moon lander launch and Mr. Steven’s arrival and fairing recovery
goals. 
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.  Read my story photos
here.
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

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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