An initial probe by Israel Aerospace Industries and SpaceIL, following the crash on the moon of Israeli spacecraft Beresheet last Thursday, showed a malfunction in the spaceship's acceleration measurement components, leading to a series of malfunctions that caused the engine to shut down. The spacecraft failed to successfully decelerate for a soft landing on the moon, hit the surface with full force, and disintegrated.
The investigation of the crash is still taking place, and will take two-to-three more weeks. Up until now, it has focused on the string of events preceding the crash and understanding the facts, based on telemetry received from the spacecraft and the ground station before the crash. "The spaceship worked as expected and completely automatically. Actually, until the event began that led to the end of the mission, it worked excellently," SpaceIL CEO Dr. Ido Anteby said today.
Anteby added, "The event began when we received an indication that the spacecraft's acceleration measurement components had failed. This was the first time in the entire mission that data were received indicating a malfunction in this system." He further stated that the acceleration measurement components had functioned properly in Beresheet's maneuvers before the last one that culminated in the crash on the moon.
Anteby also said that as soon as the malfunction was discovered, an order had been sent to a different acceleration component installed on the spaceship. A chain of malfunctions nevertheless ensued that twice caused Beresheet's main engine to shut down. The engine was responsible for braking the spacecraft's speed for the landing. Anteby said that the ground teams had tried to activate the engine at least five times, but were unsuccessful. "We still have no indication of the reason that led to the malfunction in the acceleration measurement instruments," he said in today's press briefing. "We assume that only at the end of the investigation will be able to understand whether we should have done something differently under the circumstances."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 17, 2019
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