SpaceIL receives $1m. grant to land Beresheet 2 on the moon

Beresheet 1 made Israel the seventh country in the world to reach the moon’s orbit, but failed to land.

SpaceIL founders. (photo credit: SPACEIL)
SpaceIL founders.
(photo credit: SPACEIL)
SpaceIL has been awarded a $1 million grant by the Blavatnik Family Foundation to advance the goal of landing an Israeli spacecraft on the moon, the Foundation announced on Wednesday.
The non-profit organization was founded in 2011 by three Israeli engineers to take part in the Google Lunar XPRIZE by building, launching and landing an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon.
SpaceIL’s first, ill-fated Beresheet project crash-landed in the Sea of Serenity on April 11.
Engineers lost contact with the spacecraft only minutes before it was due to complete the historic landing – a feat previously achieved only by the United States, Russia (then the USSR) and China – after an epic seven-week, 6.5 million km. journey since Beresheet blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on board a SpaceX rocket on February 22.
The endeavor still made Israel the seventh country in the world to reach the moon’s orbit.
Moreover, most of the mission’s budget was covered by private donors, with the Israeli government funding only 2.5% of the $100 million project.
After the unsuccessful first attempt, many have called on SpaceIL to try again, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who pledged to increase the government’s financial support.
“Israel is internationally known for its groundbreaking achievements in science and technology, and holds unlimited potential for achieving astounding breakthroughs in space exploration," Len Blavatnik, head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, said in a statement. "The Israeli spirit of innovation and determination is well-suited to drive the Beresheet program to new heights and make Israel a leader in space."
"We're honored to welcome Len Blavatnik to the SpaceIL family", SpaceIL co-founder Yariv Bash, commented. "We have full confidence in Beresheet 2 and our outstanding team, and we're excited at what the future holds for SpaceIL, for Israeli space innovation and space exploration at large."
Eytan Halon contributed to this report.