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April 11, 2019, 5:43 p.m. EDT

Israeli spacecraft crashes on the moon

The spacecraft lost contact with Earth just moments before it was going to land on the moon

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By Associated Press

Israeli Aerospace Industries Director of Space division Opher Doron speaks in front of a spacecraft.

One of the commanders of the failed Israeli space mission to the moon says the spacecraft has crashed.

Doron Opher, general manager of the space division of Israel Aerospace Industries, says the SpaceIL craft “definitely crashed on the surface of the moon.”

The spacecraft lost communication with Earth just moments before it was to touch down, dashing hopes of making history as the first privately funded lunar mission.

The small robotic spacecraft, built by the non-profit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, had hoped to match a feat that has only been achieved by the national space agencies of three countries: U.S., Russia and China.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on hand for what organizers had hoped to be a celebration.

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