The first privately funded mission to the Moon has crashed on the lunar surface after the apparent failure of its main engine.

Iran Press/Middle East: The Israeli spacecraft - called Beresheet - attempted a soft touch down, but suffered technical problems on its descent to the Moon's surface.

The aim of the mission was to take pictures and conduct experiments, BBC reported.

Tensions were high in the command centre as communications were lost before Opher Doron, the general manager of Israel Aerospace Industries' space division, announced there had been a failure in the spacecraft.

"We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully," he said.

Only government space agencies from the former Soviet Union, the US and China have achieved soft lunar landings.

"We didn't make it, but we definitely tried," said project originator and major backer Morris Kahn.

After a seven-week journey to the Moon, the unmanned spacecraft approached a final orbit at 15km (9m) from the surface. 105/201


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