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Israeli moon-landing mission fails while being broadcast live

People watch a screen showing explanations of the planned landing of Israeli spacecraft Beresheet at the Planetaya Planetarium in Netanya, April 11, 2019, before it crashed during the landing. (Photo by AFP)

Israel's Beresheet spacecraft has crash-landed on the moon as the widely publicized event was being broadcast live.

The spacecraft lost communication with ground control as it entered its final descent towards the moon on Thursday. The mission was declared a failure shortly after.

"We definitely crashed on the surface of the moon," said Opher Doron of Israel Aerospace Industries following the incident.

Doron added that the spacecraft's engine turned off shortly before the landing do to an unknown reason, leading to Beresheet being shattered to pieces across the landing site.

The incident happened as a packed audience, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had gathered to observe the landing.  

Israel's television had planned to broadcast the successful landing as it happened.

Beresheet was supposed to take a selfie to prove the landing. The spacecraft was not expected to return to earth and carried a symbolic time capsule of what were described as "national symbols".

The failure comes as Israel's space ambitions have been heavily military oriented. Israel has in the past developed a wide range of espionage and communication satellites, such as the Ofek spy satellites.

Israel's space program has also benefited from technical and financial backing provided by the United States for the Tel Aviv regime's military programs, such as the so-called Iron Dome.

SpaceIL, Beresheet's developer, was supported by both the Israeli Space Agency and NASA in carrying out the project.

The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on February 21 aboard the American SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Beresheet was, however, reported to have been privately funded by major Zionist business tycoons.

South African-Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, Canadian-Israeli real estate mogul Sylvan Adams and US billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson topped the list.

Adelson, who is known for his strongly anti-Iran lobbying in Washington, is one of the US Republican Party and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) top donors.

During a speech at Yeshiva University in New York City in October 2013, Adelson said that the US should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran before beginning negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program.

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