After entering the lunar orbit, the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet's Sunday morning successfully performed the first of a series of maneuvers to slow down and go into ever-smaller orbits around the moon before attempting to land on April 11th in the Sea of Serenity.
On Sunday, all of Beresheet's engines were turned on for 271 seconds, burning 55 kilos (120 pounds) of the fuel it has left.
The maneuver reduced the spacecraft's farthest distance from the moon from 10,400 kilometers (6460 miles) to just 750 kilometers (465 miles). The nearest spot in its orbit has remained 460 kilometers (285 miles) from the surface of the orb.
In the four days remaining until the landing attempt, the engineers will perform several further maneuvers to turn the Beresheet's current elliptic orbit into a circular orbit 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the face of the moon.
On Thursday, Beresheet's The engineers performed the most complicated maneuver yet, a perfectly choreographed space hop, allowing the car-sized spacecraft to jump from orbit around Earth to one around the moon – making Israel the seventh country in the world to achieve the feat.
In order for the spacecraft to successfully enter into the orbit around the moon, Beresheet needed to slow down from 8,500 kilometers per hour (5,280 miles per hour) to 7,500 kilometers per hour (4.660 miles per hour). Although that still seems to be fast to humans, according to engineers, it is the orbital equivalent of slamming on the brakes.
It took about nine minutes for eight different engines to slowly maneuver the spacecraft in the right direction and a little less than
The United States, Russia (as the Soviet Union), Japan, China, the European Space Agency and India have all made visits to the Moon through the probes, although only the US, Russia and China have successfully landed on the moon; Other probes lost control and crashed into the surface
If Israel successfully lands as planned on April 11, it will also be the first time that privately funded venture has landed there.