Following the disappointing crash landing of Beresheet, Israel’s historic unmanned lunar spacecraft, on the night of April 11, SpaceIL Chairman Morris Kahn announced the establishment of Beresheet 2.
Kahn, an Israeli philanthropist, donated $42 million of the $100 million cost of the mission.
“This is part of my message to the younger generation: Even if you do not succeed, you get up again and try,” said Kahn, who is recruiting a new group of donors and has appointed an engineering team to begin immediately.
SpaceIL’s craft failed to soft-land during its final descent when, in the last moments, it experienced a main engine failure and lost communication with mission control at Israel Aerospace Industries in Yehud.
The Beresheet 2 project already has $1 million coming its way, courtesy of the Lunar XPRIZE Foundation.
“XPRIZE will recognize SpaceIL’s achievement with a $1 million Moonshot Award for its successful entry into lunar orbit and for its attempt to land on the lunar surface – both of which are ‘firsts’ for a privately funded entity, marking a new era in space exploration,” the foundation announced on April 12.
“SpaceIL’s mission not only touched the Moon, it touched the lives and hearts of an entire world that was watching,” said Peter H. Diamandis, executive chairman and founder of XPRIZE.
“The legacy SpaceIL will have on the future of the space industry is significant. This team’s ability to build a lunar lander for $100 million and less than 50 engineers is remarkable, a leap forward towards affordable and accessible space exploration.”
SpaceIL was founded in 2011 by Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub, in order to compete in the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, which expired a year ago without a winner.
“As a testament to the team’s passion and persistence, we are presenting this $1 million Moonshot Award to the SpaceIL team at our annual Visioneering Summit in October 2019, with the hope that they will use these funds as seed money towards their education outreach or Beresheet 2.0, a second attempt to fulfill the mission,” said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari.