The lander presumably smashed into the moon's surface likely destroying its instrumentation that was to be used during the mission.
SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn said: "We got within a short distance of that soft landing but this is what happens in space".
A failure of the engine would obviously be a big problem, preventing Beresheet from performing a controlled descent and resulting in the spacecraft plummeting to its demise. "We are on the moon, but not in the way that we wanted to".
Only three countries have ever landed a spacecraft on the moon: America, Russia and China. That small club includes the U.S., Russian Federation and China.
Rob Westcott, senior propulsion engineer at Nammo, said: "We've never used an engine in this kind of application before". "That will be for the next attempt".
The 585-kilogramme (1,290-pound) Beresheet, which means "Genesis" in Hebrew, is an unmanned spacecraft resembling a tall, oddly shaped table with round fuel tanks under the top. The project cost a measly $100 million.
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"It has national implications for Israel and implications for humanity".
Dozens of children watching at the official residence of President Reuven Rivlin, some wearing white spacesuits, appeared confused as the crash unfolded.
Last week, Beresheet executed the engine burn needed to put itself into orbit around the moon. "If we succeeded every time, there would be no reward", Zurbuchen tweeted. "This is a great achievement that we have not yet completed". Beresheet then lowered its lunar orbit via a series of burns, the last of which occurred yesterday (April 10). It came at the end of a long, looping journey, a month and a half after the dishwasher-sized lander was sent into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with a pre-launch logistical assist from Seattle-based Spaceflight. "Starting from about 25 kilometers [15.5 miles] and traveling at a speed of 1,700 meters per second, we're going to reduce the height".
Open University planetary and space science professor Monica Grady said "they'll be looking at the landing site really closely, which will help to work out how the magnetic measurements of the Moon fit in with the geology and geography of the Moon, which is really important to understand how the Moon formed".
Although the Google prize expired in March without a victor, Israel's team pledged to push forward. "This is the first mission of a small country to the moon", and a non-governmental effort at that, SpaceIL Chief Executive Officer Ido Anteby told reporters near Tel Aviv.
If successful, Beresheet would also make the first lunar landing by a craft not from a government programme.