[Ed. – The U.S. space program crashed at least a handful of times before the first safe, unmanned landing on the moon. Baby steps.]
A small spacecraft launched by an Israeli nonprofit crashed while trying to land on the moon Thursday, dashing hopes for the first lunar landing by a private organization.
The craft, named Beresheet (meaning “in the beginning” or “Genesis” in Hebrew), appeared to be doing well until the final stages of landing. Its main engine apparently cut out around 3:25 p.m. New York time, roughly when the lander was supposed to touch down, and the control center lost communication. …
A successful landing would have been a first. Landers from U.S., Russian and Chinese space agencies have successfully settled onto the moon’s surface. But no private organization has been able to pull off the feat, a sign of the challenges of completing the mission.