On Thursday, former astronaut and second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin tweeted his condolences to the team behind the Beresheet spacecraft which crashed on the moon’s surface on Thursday, saying the project was “inspiring.”
“Condolences to the Beresheet lander @TeamSpaceIL for what almost was!” the 89-year-old veteran of the famed 1969 Apollo 11 mission tweeted.
Regardless of this setback, Israel can now boast that it is the seventh country to land on the moon. For a country of only 8 million, being pounded internationally by boycotts, bludgeoned by so much pressure to cease to exist and constant war, this is a remarkable accomplishment.
“As far as we can see, we were very close to the moon,” operation control director Alex Friedman said. “We are on the moon, but not in the way that we wanted to be.”
Beresheet (which means Genesis in Hebrew) is the first privately-funded spacecraft to enter the moon.
NASA, which partnered with SpaceIL on key aspects of the mission also offered inspirational words.
“While NASA regrets the end of the TeamSpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing, we congratulate SpaceIL, Israel Aerospace Industries and the State of Israel on the accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit,” tweeted NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was present in the control room when the spacecraft failed seemed unfazed and fresh from his election victory, offered motivational words:
“Write this down: In three years we will get another spacecraft on the moon, and this one will land in one piece,” said Netanyahu.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try again. We’ll try again, and next time we’ll just try it more gently.”