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Israeli Team: Human Error May Have Caused Spacecraft Crash


People watch the live broadcast of the SpaceIL spacecraft as it lost contact with Earth in Netanya, Israel, Thursday, April 11, 2019.

The Israeli start-up behind last week's failed lunar landing says human error may have caused the spacecraft to crash into the moon.

SpaceIL, the non-profit that undertook the botched lunar mission, said Thursday that its engineers collectively decided to restart the inertial measurement unit, a critical part of the spacecraft's guidance system, following its malfunction in the lander's final descent.

The team says the command triggered a "chain of events" that culminated in the spacecraft slamming into the moon, otherwise "things may have been OK, but we're still not sure."

SpaceIL says it will continue to analyze the fatal glitch and publish a formal assessment in the coming weeks.

Had the mission succeeded, it would have marked a first for Israel and for privately-funded lunar voyages.

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