The first private lunar landing spacecraft “Beresheet”, owned by the Israeli company SpaceIL, conducted the fourth and final major corrective maneuver to get closer to the satellite of our planet. This is reported by the portal Space.com, with reference to Ofer Doron, head of the space department of the IAI company that created the landing gear.
Having survived a minor problem related to the reboot of the main computer, Beresheet has already carried out three successful maneuvers, which gradually brought him to the trajectory of convergence with the Moon.
Yesterday, the Israeli probe conducted the last, fourth course correction, in which it turned on the engines for about 60 seconds. This maneuver significantly increased the height of the Beresheet’s orbit, raising its apogee (the farthest point from the Earth) to 405,000 kilometers, which is already beyond the orbit of the satellite of our planet.
“This is the last major corrective maneuver on the way to the moon. We can say that we have successfully reached the path of rapprochement with the satellite, ”commented Doron.
He also noted that the constant reboot of the computer, associated with high levels of radiation and malfunctions in the position of the stars and the Sun, made this approach to the Moon unexpectedly difficult and dangerous for the probe. However, most of the problems were avoided after updating the Beresheet’s software.
The mission team adds that in the coming days it may be necessary to conduct a series of minor orbit corrections, but such long-term engine starts will no longer be needed. The device should reach the planned orbit around the moon on April 4.
The historic landing of a private module is scheduled for April 11, in the crater of the Sea of Clarity. At the moment, only three space powers – the USSR, the USA and China – were able to carry out successful soft landing of spacecraft on the surface of the Earth satellite. Israel can become the fourth country, while much less money was invested in this project than in the missions of other designated space agencies – only about $100 million, most of which was attracted by private investors.
Development of the Israeli landing module began as part of the Google Lunar X Prize contest with a prize fund of $30 million. The task of the competition was to create a lunar rover capable of reaching the Earth’s satellite, make a soft landing, and then make several movements on the surface of the moon by conducting a photo or video. As a result, none of the participants was able to catch up to the deadline for the competition. Nevertheless, the Israeli SpaceIL team, together with its partner IAI, decided to continue developing the device, which, as it turned out, has an interesting manner of movement – it does not ride, as one would expect from any other moon rover, but does jumps.
It is expected that after landing, Beresheet will be able to conduct scientific data collection on the magnetic field of the Earth satellite and to photograph the surface. However, the key goal of the project is that its developers call for the desire to motivate the younger generation so that they show more interest in science and technology.
The launch of the device into space took place on February 21 with the help of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle of the American company SpaceX.