Israel's first lunar lander launched into space from Florida

22 February, 2019, 11:18 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off with Israel's Lunar Lander and an Indonesian communications satellite at space launch complex 40 Thursday Feb. 21 2019 in Cape Canaveral Fla. An Israeli spacecraft blasted off to the moon in an attempt to make

NASA, which has installed equipment on Beresheet to upload its signals from the Moon, said last week it aims to land instruments later this year or next year and that it is inviting private sector bids to build and launch the USA probes.

An Israeli spacecraft rocketed toward the moon for the country's first attempted lunar landing, following a launch Thursday night by SpaceX.

The Beresheet lander, whose name means "In the beginning" in Hebrew, was build by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

An artist's impression of SpaceIL's lunar lander, Beresheet, landing on the moon. Data will be relayed via the US space agency NASA's Deep Space Network to SpaceIL's Israel-based ground station Yehud.

The mission was originally intended for Google's Lunar Xprize, a competition created to encourage privately funded groups to send robotic landers to the moon.

Read our full coverage of SpaceIL's unprecedented mission to land on the moon.

A company representative declined to comment on SpaceIL's mission ahead of launch, but noted that the "webcast will have more to say on the mission".

During its first Falcon Heavy launch in February 2018, the firm landed two of the firms side boosters simultaneously on separate launchpads. During that time, it will study the moon's magnetic fields and take photos of the lunar surface - along with some out-of-this-world selfies, Yigal Harel, head of the SpaceIL Spacecraft Program, said in the briefing.

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The 5-foot-tall Beresheet lander will be tucked into the rocket with Nusantara Satu. Launching the refurbished booster for a third time could net SpaceX millions (if not tens of millions) of dollars.

Inside the time capsule is an enormous digital database known as the Arch Lunar Library, a project of the nonprofit Arch Mission Foundation. "It's going to be the most densely packed artifact to reach the moon from information point of view, and it's going to stay there for future generations to see what is it like on Earth here in 2019".

After the launch, the craft will disengage from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at around 38,300 miles above Earth's surface, and will then continue on its journey to the Moon.

SpaceX has launched an Israeli spacecraft on a history-making trip to the moon.

'This is Uber-style space exploration, so we're riding shotgun on the rocket, ' Winetraub explained at a news conference on the eve of launch.

Nusantara Satu is a 4,100-kilogram communications satellite equipped with C- and Ku-band transponders, mainly for broadband connectivity.

The rocket's two other payloads were a telecommunications satellite for Indonesia and an experimental satellite for the U.S. Air Force. "Additionally, the satellite's C-band and Ku-band transponders will be used for voice and data communications and video distribution throughout the Indonesian archipelago".

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