Snapping more selfies, Beresheet makes last pass around Earth before moon try

Beresheet taking a "selfie" with the Earth at a distance of 265,000 kilometers above the planet's surface in a photo released on March 24, 2019. (courtesy Beresheet)

Engineers release photos taken from spacecraft’s perimeter cameras, showing what Israel looks like from 131,000 kilometers up

By MELANIE LIDMAN 24 March 2019, 5:38 pm

Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft selfie camera is continuing to click away as the satellite performs its largest elliptical orbit around Earth ahead of a planned moon landing on April 11.

On Sunday, engineers with SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries released a number of photos from Beresheet’s camera, including a selfie with the Earth from 265,000 kilometers (165,000 miles) above the planet’s surface and a video of the sunrise in space.

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The four-legged Beresheet, about the size of a small car, is circling Earth in increasingly larger elliptical loops until it maneuvers into the moon’s orbit.

It is currently on the last loop around the Earth, which will take until April 4. Touchdown is planned for April 11 at the Sea of Serenity.

Aside from a few small glitches with an unexpected system and some problems with the star tracking navigation system, the spacecraft is on schedule to make the landing.

Also on Sunday, engineers released footage of Beresheet’s landing gear deploying. The spacecraft has four landing legs that will touch down on the lunar surface.

Last week, Beresheet’s engine was activated for 60 seconds putting it into a new orbit that takes it as far as 405,000 kilometers (252,000 miles) from Earth.

Source: The Times of Israel


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