Join Donate

Jason DavisApril 4, 2019

Beresheet Has Entered Lunar Orbit!

SpaceIL's Beresheet Moon lander successfully entered lunar orbit today after a 6-minute engine burn that began at 14:18 UTC / 10:18 EDT. The spacecraft will now spend another week circling the Moon before landing on 11 April.

News Brief

Mission controllers at Beresheet's control room in Yehud, Israel monitored the engine burn in real time, as the spacecraft reduced its Moon-relative speed by 1,000 kilometers per hour in order to be captured by lunar gravity. The spacecraft is now circling the Moon every 14 hours in an estimated orbit of 10,000 by 500 kilometers. Here are two pictures of the happy team:

Beresheet LOI celebration 1

Eliran Avital

Beresheet LOI celebration 1
Members of the SpaceIL and IAI Beresheet engineering teams celebrate in the control room after the spacecraft sucessfully entered lunar orbit on 4 April.
Beresheet LOI celebration 2

Eliran Avital

Beresheet LOI celebration 2
Members of the SpaceIL and IAI Beresheet engineering teams celebrate in the control room after the spacecraft sucessfully entered lunar orbit on 4 April.

Incredibly, the insertion burn timing was only 9 minutes off from the mission's pre-launch timeline. More maneuvers are expected over the next week as Beresheet lowers itself into a circular, 200-kilometer orbit with a period of 2 hours. From there, the spacecraft will make its final descent to Mare Serenitatis on 11 April, where it will be sunrise.

Moon during Beresheet landing

NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Moon during Beresheet landing
The Moon on 11 April at 16:00 UTC, during Beresheet's nominal landing time. Mare Serenitatis is the circular mare at top center-right.

Read more: Beresheet, the Moon

You are here:
Jason Davis thumbnail
Jason Davis

Digital Editor for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Jason Davis

Comments & Sharing
Bill Nye and people
Let's Change the World

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Today

LightSail
LightSail 2

LightSail 2 launched aboard the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Be part of this epic point in space exploration history!

Donate

"We're changing the world. Are you in?"
- CEO Bill Nye

I'm In!