Israel prepares second mission to 'place flag on moon', after embarrassing first attempt
The announcement comes after an attempt at moon landing failed on Thursday, when robot craft Beresheet - built by non-profit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) - suffered an engine failure and crashed onto the lunar surface.
SpaceIL president and high-tech billionaire Morris Kahn announced that a task force for the second mission will convene on Sunday.
"I have had time to think, over the weekend, about what happened, and given all of the encouragement I got, and the support from people all over the world I have come tonight to announce a new project - Beresheet 2," Khan told Israel's Channel 12 TV.
Private donors were already pledging funds for the new project, Kahn said, adding that the funds must come from the public for "a project of the people of Israel".
"We began something that we shall complete, and we will place our flag on the moon," he said.
The cost of the first mission averaged at about $100 million (76.45 million pounds), Khan said, adding that most of it was raised through private donors.
The Israeli government's contributed around $3 million, he added.
State-owned IAI said it was willing to work with SpaceIL under Khan's direction for the second mission.
The Israeli mission came amid renewed global interest in the moon, 50 years after American astronauts first walked on its surface.
China's Chang'e-4 made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on 3January, after a probe sent by Beijing made a lunar landing elsewhere in 2013.
US President Donald Trump's administration announced in March it was speeding up plans to send American astronauts back to the moon, bringing forward the target date from 2028 to 2024.
India hopes to become the next lunar country in the spring with its Chandrayaan-2 mission. It aims to put a craft with a rover onto the moon's surface to collect data.
Japan plans to send a small lunar lander, called SLIM, to study a volcanic area around 2020-2021.
The US remains the only country to have walked on the moon, with 12 astronauts having taken part in six missions between 1969 and 1972.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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