Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft, an unmanned vehicle slated to land on the moon, missed a scheduled maneuver Monday night, after the spacecraft’s computer system suffered an apparent glitch, resetting itself unexpectedly.
In a statement Tuesday morning, SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineers said they were investigating the malfunction, but said that other than a known problem with the navigation system’s star tracker, the Beresheet’s systems were all functioning properly.
The maneuver was scheduled to take place Monday night, as the spacecraft passed near the Earth in an area where the Ramat Gan-based SpaceIL ground crew would not be in direct communication with the craft.
During the pre-maneuver phase, the spacecraft computer reset unexpectedly, and the maneuver was automatically cancelled.
“The engineering teams of SpaceIL and IAI are examining the data and analyzing the situation,” the control team said in a statement Tuesday.
“At this time, the spacecraft’s systems are working well, except for the known problem in the star tracker.”
“The control center has contact with the spacecraft according to plan and it continues its previous orbit until the next maneuver. We will update the planned schedule later.”
Last Thursday night (local time), the Beresheet was launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral, kicking off Israel’s first lunar landing mission.
The Beresheet, built and operated by the private Israeli firm SpaceIL, is the first Israeli-built spacecraft.