SpaceIL’s robotic lander, Beresheet, Hebrew for “Genesis,” came very close to touching down on the Moon yesterday, but ultimately failed to soft-land during its final descent. As it prepared for landing, Beresheet experienced a main engine failure and lost communication with mission control in Tel Aviv, suggesting the lander crashed into the surface.
“SpaceIL’s mission not only touched the Moon, it touched the lives and hearts of an entire world that was watching,” said Peter H. Diamandis, executive chairman and founder of XPRIZE. “The legacy SpaceIL will have on the future of the space industry is significant. This team’s ability to build a lunar lander for $100 million and less than 50 engineers is remarkable, a leap forward towards affordable and accessible space exploration. Congratulations to Morris Kahn, their primary benefactor, and the entire SpaceIL team for all their accomplishments -- we are so proud.”
SpaceIL was founded in 2011 by Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub, in order to compete in the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE. In 2015, SpaceIL became the first team to announce a launch contract, and they launched for the Moon on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on February 21, 2019.
“As a testament to the team’s passion and persistence, we are presenting this $1 Million Moonshot Award to the SpaceIL team at our annual Visioneering Summit in October 2019, with the hope that they will use these funds as seed money towards their education outreach or Beresheet 2.0, a second attempt to fulfill the mission,” said Anousheh Ansari, chief executive officer of XPRIZE. “We are so proud and humbled to have served as the catalyst for this mission, not just to further private space exploration, but to increase access to education, career opportunities, and role models in this field, something that is very much in line with the values of the XPRIZE Foundation.”
The Moonshot Award, inspired by SpaceIL, was created to recognize an XPRIZE team achieving a “moonshot” technological feat outside the parameters or timeframe of an XPRIZE competition, with the funds coming directly from the XPRIZE Foundation. Future Moonshot Awards will be considered in other domains, recognizing both literal and figurative moonshots.
XPRIZE designs and operates global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future. Active competitions include the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.