Six days after the Israeli Beresheet plane crashed on the moon, SpaceIL announced on Wednesday that it had completed the first phase of its internal investigation into why the main engine failed during a landing attempt.
According to the investigation, a mistake was discovered in an acceleration sensor called IMU. The command sent to the sensor caused a chain reaction that caused the main engine to shut down.
Without the main engine functioning as a brake mechanism, it was impossible to reduce the Beresheet speed from 1,700 kilometers per hour (1,000 km / h) to 0 just above the surface of the Moon. Engineers were able to restart the engine, but at that time the ship was too close to the surface to slow down enough.
The first phase of the investigation is just trying to understand the sequence of events, so it's still not clear why the sensor does not work properly.
"The command did not cause the main engine to shut down directly, but it caused the computer to restart and keep things going there," SpaceIL CEO Ido Antibi told SpaceInfo briefing.
"We still do not have an estimate of why the failure happened," he added. "We have not yet considered decision-making, but only a series of events." The ship tried to start the engine and shut it down again. We can see five or six attempts to start the engine.
"When we complete the full and detailed investigation, we will have many conclusions about the next mission," Antibi said, adding that the process will last for several weeks.
Engineers believe that the first problems began about 14 kilometers above the surface of the moon. At 150 meters (500 feet) above the surface of the moon, communication was completely lost. At this moment, the spacecraft was moving at a speed of 500 km / h, which caused a collision with the surface of the moon "inevitable," a spokesman for the Beresheet team said on Friday.
On Saturday, SpaceIL's president, Maurice Kahn, announced that he launched the Beresheet 2 project, which came into force immediately, adding, "We started with something and we have to finish it. We'll put the flag on the moon."
On Wednesday, SpaceIL said Beresheet 2 had begun work and that Kahn and his team had several meetings on the subject and are in the process of marking the project and deciding on the budget, timetable, workforce, fundraising and more.
"We hope we can finish the project in two years," he said.
The first spacecraft had a budget of $ 100 million ($ 370 million), part of the cost of vehicles that started on the moon by the large energy efficiency forces. UU, Russia and China in the past. It was a joint venture between private companies SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, funded almost entirely by private donations from well-known Jewish philanthropists.