Beresheet was a privately funded mission to repeat what the U.S., the former Soviet Union, and China have all achieved: land a craft safely on the surface of the moon. "How three young engineers sitting in a bar can just pull Israel after them and make this a reality", said SpaceIL Co-Founder Yariv Bash.
Had the spacecraft, built by private organisation SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and launched by Space X's Falcon-9 rocket, landed successfully, it would have become the world's first private mission to the moon and would have made Israel the fourth country in the world to land on the moon.
The spacecraft lost communication with ground control as it was making its final descent to the moon.
The competition ended a year ago without a victor, but SpaceIL and partner Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's biggest aerospace and defense company, continued working on the 5-foot-tall (1.5 meters) Beresheet.
"Putting a spacecraft on the moon is a little bit of a kind of a weird project", Kahn said. By the time mission controllers rebooted the spacecraft to try and restart the engine, according to a live broadcast of the event, it was too late. "I think that the achievement of getting to where we got is really tremendous. If we succeeded every time, there would be no reward", Zurbuchen tweeted. But the competition's organizer, The XPrize foundation, has said it will still award the $1 million "Moonshot Award" to the team despite the failed landing.
After a journey of 4.5 million km (2.8 million miles), Israel's Beresheet spacecraft came within 150 meters of the lunar surface before malfunctioning and crashing. The Trump-led United States administration too wants to send astronauts back to the moon.More news: Disney Plus reveals launch date, price, slate of content coming to service
"If at first you don't succeed, try try again", said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on hand for what organisers had hoped to be a celebration.
Reports noted that it would have been the first private spacecraft to reach the moon.
Morris Khan, a philanthropist and chairman of SpaceIL, put up $40 million of the project's $100 million budget. One commenter on social media said that we should call the Israeli space program BASA, an Israeli slang meaning "oy veh", rather than NASA.
People watch a screen showing explanations of the landing of Israeli spacecraft, Beresheet's, at the Planetaya Planetarium in the Israeli city of Netanya, on April 11, 2019 before it crashed during the landing.
In March, Mike Pence, US Vice President had revealed that the Trump administration wants to speed up the lunar mission, a move to affirm the dominance of the country as a space superpower.