Israel’s first attempt to reach the moon was a journey of magnificence. A team of 3 men with a dream, Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari, and Yonatan Winetraub set out in 2010 to build the first ‘grassroots’ spaceship that has ever touched the moon. On April 11, 2019, millions of people watched as Beresheet, Israel’s spacecraft sent an out of this world selfie from the moon, and then crashed. The epic selfie made history for Israel and carried the sign “small country, big dreams.”
Beresheet successfully made it into the lunar orbit, making Israel the seventh country in the world to do so. Yet as the spacecraft approached the surface, the engine cut out and was not able to be restarted. Israel may not have completed the moon mission as successfully as they had hoped, yet their success is being felt in exponential ripples just by their attempt to reach the moon.
SpaceIL was started as a nonprofit in 2011 and has since educated and inspired thousands of young children to begin thinking about their own dreams and aspirations to one day reach the moon. In Israeli startup spirit, while there was a silent disappointment which rang out when Beresheet went nonresponsive, the immediate uprising with the main theme of “we’ll have to try again.”
And they will. Only two days later, Beresheet II is already slated to begin work, and is being supported by Morris Kahn, one of the project’s major donors. “This is part of my message to the younger generation: Even if you do not succeed, you get up again and try,” said Kahn.
In addition, Google’s Lunar XPRIZE, who inspired the idea yet later shut down their contest with no winners, announced that “they may have not had a successful landing this time, but SpaceIL has still made history. We are happy to announce they will still be the recipients of our first ever $1M Moonshot Award, in honor of their achievements and their milestone as the first privately-funded entity to orbit the Moon.”