Genesis ("Beresheet" in Hebrew), Israel's first spacecraft to the Moon, has some complications. After launching in the morning, SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries engineers found that sensors on the vessel needed for navigation were too sensitive to sunlight. They discovered another problem with the spacecraft's robot on Monday, which could delay its achievement of the moon.
Around midnight from Monday to Tuesday planned another maneuver to increase the orbital radius around the Earth. The maneuver was to be carried out automatically when the spacecraft was in the sky, where it would not have had contact with the controllers on the ground. However, during the preparation for maneuver, the computer's computer performed an unplanned reboot. Restart canceled the maneuver, and he continued his initial orbit. The engineers responsible for Genesis operations analyze data and try to understand what caused the reboot and what its consequences might be.
Whenever Genesis completes the orbit, it performs another maneuver designed to move it further from the ground, releasing its engines within three minutes. That's how it will eventually reach the moon, with orbits at consistently increasing distances from the Earth along a trajectory that resembles an elliptical spiral. The advantage of this method, which is based on the gravitational attraction of the Earth, lies in the fact that it saves fuel. Lack of maneuver means the postponement of the Genesis Moon landing.
Genesis was built by the private non-profit group SpaceIL in collaboration with Israel Aeronautics Industries. Director-General of SpaceIL Ido Anteby told reporters in a conference call that Genesis systems navigate the navigation and calibrate the navigation systems before maneuvering. "At this stage, the computer of the spacecraft had an independent reset, so the maneuver was canceled," he said.
Once engineers understand what caused the problem with the computer, they will decide when to try to repeat the maneuver, Anteby said. Oper Donor, head of the IAI space division, said he was not particularly concerned now: "The sooner we will understand what has happened, we will be able to prevent the recurrence of the problem."
An orbital maneuvering plan included several days for delays, so if the problem is fixed within the next two days, the spacecraft could reach the Moon according to the start schedule, said two.
The maneuver is not the first downturn faced by Genesis. The first problem was one of the positioning systems called stellar trackers. These are sensors that find stars around the spacecraft to determine its location. After launching, it became clear that trackers are more sensitive than expected to sunlight, which may complicate the detection of other stars. While star-trackers focus on areas of the sky, where sunlight does not interfere, Doron explained that these changes could be associated with an unplanned computer reboot.
Genesis was successfully launched late in the evening on Thursday from Cape Canaveral. After 33 minutes, he separated from the carrier rocket and began to rotate the ground. It is expected to land on the Moon on April 11 and would be the smallest car to accomplish that. One of the founders of SpaceIL, Yar Bash, said that "the launch was cool, but the hard part is ahead of us."
He will be 6.5 million kilometers, the longest trajectory of any spacecraft that has gone from Earth to the Moon. The cost of $ 100 million is significantly lower than the previous expeditions. If it succeeds, Israel will become the fourth country to land on the Moon.