Science

Israeli unmanned spacecraft to land on Moon in 2019

Israeli unmanned spacecraft to land on Moon in 2019”

"SpaceIL's moon mission is officially underway #SpaceIL".

The lunar landing will culminate eight years of intensive collaboration between SpaceIL and IAI, and will make Israel the fourth country after the U.S., China and Russian Federation to reach the moon.

The 2 meter-by-1.5 meter vehicle weighs 600 kilograms (1,323 pounds), making it the smallest spacecraft yet to touch down on the moon.

Israel hopes to be the fourth when it launches a spacecraft this December with an assist from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

A Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX will carry the craft to the moon from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on February 13, 2019.

The SpaceIL organization participated in the competition for the Google Lunar XC Prize.

SpaceIL is backed mainly by private donors, including USA casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and billionaire Morris Kahn who co-founded Amdocs, one of Israel's biggest high-tech companies.

A group of private Israeli companies are joining the race to return to the moon, after NASA's recent cancellation of a lunar mission and India's announcement that in October it will send a rover to look for signs of water and nuclear fuel.

Israel will launch its first lunar mission in December.

Israel will be the fourth nation on the planet to land a spacecraft on the moon, when its SpaceIL touches down on Earth's only natural satellite on February 13, 2019.

The project culminated in the design of an Israeli lunar probe, which SpaceIL claimed would launch regardless of the contest's outcome. The prize would have given $30 million to the team that developed a low-priced method of robotic space exploration. Unlike bigger spacecraft that took four days to reach the moon, the smaller fuel capacity means SpaceIL must take an indirect way, orbiting the Earth to reach the moon, SpaceIL said.

"We will put the Israeli flag on the moon" said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL. It will orbit Earth in expanding ellipses and, about two months later, cross into the moon's orbit.

The entire journey, from launch to landing, will last approximately two months.

Only then it will embark on its scientific mission, and will begin to take photos and videos of the landing site, and measure the moon's magnetic field.

The other goal is to give birth to an "Apollo Effect" in Israel, mirroring the USA enthusiasm that encouraged scientists to continue their research after the Apollo Moon landing in 1969. This way, they will raise interest in space among the people in Israel, and will also encourage young generations to study STEM.

Along with Kahn, the Israeli Space Agency and USA megadonor casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson are funding SpaceIL.



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