Israel to launch its first spacecraft to the moon

14 July, 2018, 02:28 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • The 585 kilogram landing craft will piggyback on a SpaceX Falcon rocket to enter Earth’s orbit then slingshot around the planet several times to reach the moon

If successful, Israel would become the world's fourth country to land on the moon - a feat only Russian Federation, the United States and China have achieved.

Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries will launch its mission to the Moon by the end of this year, they announced yesterday.

Ido Anteby, chief executive of SpaceIL, outlined the schedule.

According to the experts, in case everything goes according to plan, the low cost of the spacecraft developed by SpaceIL could set a standard for future missions.

Israel Aerospace Industries and the nonprofit SpaceIL announced Tuesday that they plan a December launch from Cape Canaveral to land on the moon on February 13. "We worked together with the IAI team and SpaceIL team on very sophisticated engineering to get [it] all the way to the moon".

President of SpaceIL, Morris Kahn, the South African born millionaire and humanitarian who contributed around $27 million to the mission expressed in a news bulletin conference: "We are creating history". He emphasized that he will underwrite any gaps in funding, saying "this project will not stop, will not have any problem, because of money".

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He said "This is a tremendous project".

Anteby said the SpaceIL craft - bearing an Israeli flag - will disengage from the launch rocket at an altitude of 60,000 kilometers (37,282 miles) and will begin orbiting Earth in elliptical orbits. At a certain stage in its orbit, the spacecraft will reach a point that is near the moon.

The probe, presented in the Israeli city of Yehud, will land on the lunar surface after a long journey during which it will orbit for about two months around the Earth. When it reaches the right altitude, it will ignite its engines and reduce its speed to allow the moon's gravity to capture it.

Artist's illustration of SpaceIL's lander on the surface of the moon. The Israeli craft will be the smallest to land on the moon, weighing only 1,322 pounds or 600 kilograms. Over the years, additional partners from the private sector, government companies and academia have joined, including Weizmann Institute of Science; Israel Space Agency; the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space; Bezeq and others. If it lands on the moon it would be the smallest craft to do so.

On July 21, 1969, Armstrong excellently articulated the words: "For humans this is a small step but a huge leap for mankind".

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