JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is again aiming for the moon.
SpaceIL, the nonprofit Israeli initiative whose spacecraft crashed as it tried to land on the moon last year, announced on Wednesday that it is launching another lunar mission with its Israeli government partners. The Beresheet 2 project will aim to send three spacecraft — an orbiter and two landers — to the moon.
The first Beresheet, or “Genesis,” spacecraft, built by SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, had aimed to match a feat only achieved by the U.S., Russia and China. But moments before touchdown, it crashed.
President Reuven Rivlin, who hosted a launch ceremony for the new project, said the country was “filled with pride” during last year's attempted landing.
“We were disappointed, and realized that we had to start once again from the beginning,” he said. “Today, we are setting out on a new path, familiar but different, at the end of which we hope to land three spacecraft safely on the moon.”
In addition to Israel Aerospace Industries, the country's Science Ministry and national space agency will be partners in the project. The science minister, Yizhar Shai, said seven countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have expressed interest in joining the effort. Beresheet 2 is expected to be launched into space in four years.
SpaceIL's chief executive, Shimon Sarid, said the project aims to inspire a new generation of scientists and researchers in a country known for its vibrant technology scene.
“We will do it by raising curiosity and hope, the ability to dream and realize and through strengthening technological education, research, science and engineering for Israeli students,” he said.