The Beresheet lunar lander, which was launched by a Falcon 9 rocket in February, has managed to send back an impressive video of the sun as it rises beyond Earth.
The video proves that Beresheet is fully operational, even if the spacecraft has encountered a few issues. Soon after the space probe was launched, the team which operates it observed that the star trackers could be easily blinded by the sun. The problem was quite significant since the star trackers allow the researchers to determine the orientation of the spacecraft at any given time.
Another incident took place on February 25 when a glitch forced the onboard computer to reset. A planned engine firing was delayed due to the problem, but the team has stated that the issue was solved and the test was completed successfully.
Beresheet lunar lander snaps a stunning video with the sun rising beyond the Earth
Beresheet is the first Israeli lunar spacecraft. If all goes according to plan, Israel will become the fourth nation to land on the moon, joining a select club of nations. According to the schedule, the spacecraft should be able to reach the Sea of Tranquility on April 11. The area was visited by the iconic Apollo 11 mission in 1972.
The spacecraft is fitted with a variety of sensors which will convey valuable data about the moon’s magnetic field.
SpaceIL began the project as a pitch for the Google Lunar X Prize, a competition which aimed to encourage the development of the private space sector. The competition ended without a winner, but the team managed to secure private funding, which allowed the project to progress. It is estimated that the total cost of the mission will reach $100 million, which is surprisingly low for an enterprise at such a large scale.
A significant cost cut was achieved when SpaceIL and the Israeli space agency managed to secure a place on the Falcon 9 rocket. Since it wasn’t carried by a dedicated rocket, Beresheet needs a more extended period before it will manage to reach our natural satellite.