Beresheet spacecraft succeeds in latest maneuver, bringing it closer to moon

Beresheet spacecraft succeeds in latest maneuver, bringing it closer to moon”

SpaceIL was a competitor in Google's Lunar X-Prize competition.

Genesis, Israel's historic spacecraft, which entered lunar orbit on Thursday on its journey to the moon is on an "excellent" track, according to data from the SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

With four days left until the April 11 landing date, SpaceIL's engineers are attempting a series of maneuvers to transform Beresheet's elliptical orbit into a circular orbit 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the surface of the moon.

Beresheet will also be the first privately-owned object to land on the Lunar surface, but carries a scientific payload that will measure the Moon's magnetic field that should help scientists understand how the Moon was originally formed. SpaceIL is the nonprofit group behind the launch of the mission, and IAI are the Israeli equivalent of NASA.

Beresheet's trip to the Moon was not your usual straight-to-the-point affair, thus the long time it took it to get there. It's expected that they will land on the moon on April 11th, 2019. Doing so entails a complicated maneuver in which the spacecraft must hop from earth's orbit to the moon's - as seen below in a demonstration video released by SpaceIL.

The United States, Russia (as the USSR), Japan, China, the European Space Agency and India have all made visits to the moon via probes, though only the US, Russia and China have successfully landed on the moon; other probes crashed-landed on the surface.

The washing-machine sized spacecraft is set to land on the moon on Thursday.

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