Israel Doubles Down on Beresheet 2.0
Beresheet crashed on its April moon landing, still making it the first privately funded spacecraft to reach lunar orbit
Lilach Baumer | 10:45 06.05.2019
Israel is doubling its support for the next Beresheet project, pledging NIS 20 million for the cause, the Israeli Minister of Science, Technology, and Space Ofir Akunis announced Sunday. The first Beresheet spacecraft, funded by a private donation of nearly $100 million, received government support to the tune of NIS 9.5 million (approximately $2.66 million). Beresheet’s entire budget stood at $100 million. Beresheet got its start as a private attempt by Israeli nonprofit organization SpaceIL to win Google’s 10-year space race competition Lunar X Prize. The spacecraft was developed in partnership with Israeli state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI). The project continued after the competition’s deadline passed with no winner, with Beresheet launching in February on the back of a SpaceX rocket.
SpaceIL president and main investor Morris Kahn announced Beresheet 2.0 immediately after the first craft crashed during its attempted lunar landing. The new craft is expected to require a smaller budget as it will build on existing experience.