Israeli lunar spacecraft conducts another successful maneuver

Beresheet 37,000 kilometers from earth Photo: Beresheet

SpaceIL's Beresheet spacecraft's most important maneuver on the way to the moon will be conducted on April 4.

Israeli spaceship Beresheet has pulled off another successful maneuver on its way to the moon. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and SpaceIL today announced that Beresheet had maneuvered in space for 60 seconds, during which its engine was operated and an elliptical orbit was set that would bring the craft close to the moon. The farthest point in this orbit is 405,000 kilometers from earth.

IAI and SpaceIL said that the spacecraft's systems were functioning as planned, and communications with the control room in Yehud were taking place. They added that the control team had successfully minimized the difficulties that arose shortly after Beresheet's launch when its star trackers were dazzled by the sun rays. IAI explained that during the entire maneuver, the star trackers were aimed in the spacecraft's direction, not towards the sun or the earth.

IAI further stated that the Beresheet's journey to the moon was depleting its fuel supply. In an attempt to prevent the spaceship from wobbling as a result of fuel splashing in its tanks, the control team activated a momentum wheel to stabilize its movement in space.

In the coming weeks, Beresheet will carry out several additional small maneuvers aimed at improving its orbit to the moon, in preparation for its moon capturing maneuver on April 4. The spacecraft is scheduled to land on the moon on April 11, almost a month after being launched from the US.

Commenting on Beresheet's successful maneuver, IAI Space Division general manager Opher Doron said, "We have reached a place in the orbit at which the moon circles the earth in preparation for the most important maneuver, during which it should be captured by the moon's gravity."

Doron added, "The main risk in the capturing maneuver is that if we do it the wrong way, the spacecraft will fly into open space, and we will lose it forever. It's a tough maneuver, and we have to do it right."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 19, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Beresheet 37,000 kilometers from earth Photo: Beresheet
Beresheet 37,000 kilometers from earth Photo: Beresheet
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