NASA and Buzz Aldrin are among the many figures to congratulate Israel on their attempted moon landing, despite the rocket failing in the lost moments and crashing into the lunar surface.
“While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.
“Every attempt to reach new milestones holds opportunities for us to learn, adjust and progress. I have no doubt that Israel and SpaceIL will continue to explore and I look forward to celebrating their future achievements,” he added.
Former astronaut and second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin on Thursday tweeted his condolences to the team behind the Beresheet spacecraft saying the project was “inspiring.”
“Condolences to the Beresheet lander @TeamSpaceIL for what almost was! Communications were lost with the spacecraft just 150 meters (!!!) above the surface, and it couldn’t quite stick the landing. Never lose hope – your hard work, team work, and innovation is inspiring to all!” tweeted Aldrin, who was a member of the US Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969.
Condolences to the Beresheet lander @TeamSpaceIL for what almost was! Communications were lost with the spacecraft just 150 meters (!!!) above the surface, and it couldn't quite stick the landing. Never lose hope – your hard work, teamwork, and innovation is inspiring to all!
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) April 11, 2019
Israel could still claim the title of seventh country to make lunar orbit, and the seventh country to reach the lunar surface, though unfortunately not in one piece.
“As far as we can see, we were very close to the moon,” operation control director Alex Friedman said to engineers in the SpaceIL control room in Yehud, east of Tel Aviv, after communication with the spacecraft went down. “We are on the moon, but not in the way that we wanted to be.”
The Israeli foreign ministry commented earlier on the spacecraft’s failure to land on the moon, saying in a statement, “Beresheet came the closest Israel ever has to land on the moon, but unfortunately the landing was not completed successfully.”
“We applaud SpaceIL for a tremendous scientific achievement, they made history by making Israel one of 7 nations who had ever orbited the moon. IAI is proud to be part of this amazing journey with SpaceIL that brought us to the moon. We will continue to lead Israel to unbelievable achievements,” it added.
“The Beresheet effect will continue to lead the children of Israel to dream about Beresheet 2.0!”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised after the attempted landing on the moon that Israel will try again.
“We will try again. We reached the moon but we want to land more softly and this will be on the next attempt. This very attempt is a tremendous achievement and I think that you see by all the applause here that we really are the fourth country to reach it. We will be the fourth country to land on the moon if we persist,” said Netanyahu.
“From my point-of-view, the eagle has landed. The State of Israel has taken off. Next time it will be better. An Israeli spacecraft will land on the moon whole. In another three years a spacecraft will land on the moon – whole,” he added.