Israel Launches Spacecraft Towards Moon in 1st Lunar Landing Attempt

25 February, 2019, 15:30 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • An artist's impression of the Beresheet moon lander.             

Israel became the first to launch a privately funded mission to the moon, in addition to becoming the fourth country to launch a lunar spacecraft, on Thursday night. The SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully lifted off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force station at 8:45 p.m.

The two other payloads set for deployment are a telecommunications satellite for Indonesia and an experimental satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

Israel successfully launched its first privately funded spacecraft from Florida in the USA on Friday.

"This is history in the making - and it's live!"

Beresheet, whose name means "in the beginning" in Hebrew, is a joint project of IAI and the nonprofit organization SpaceIL.

It was backed notably by businessman and philanthropist Morris Kahn, who financed the development of a craft. Eastern, deploying the Beresheet lunar lander 33 minutes later, and the Nusantara Satu telecom satellite with the S5 experimental smallsat almost 45 minutes after liftoff.

An hour after launch, Beresheet's engineers reported that the spacecraft had deployed its landing legs as expected, and was sending back its first signs of life, indicating a safe entry into space. "After eight years of hard work, our dream has come true: We finally have a spacecraft", said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL.

Technically, it is far from a trivial mission.

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Now, the Beresheet will begin its slow, slingshot process to the moon - a process that will take a couple of months.

When it arrives, its landing gear must cushion the descent onto the lunar surface to prevent Beresheet from crashing.

The satellite will collect lunar data and deposit a time that includes children's art, the Bible, and Israel's Declaration of Independence.

The Air Force Rrch Laboratory (AFRL) S5 spacecraft is meant to set whether low-priced satellites could be used for Department of Defence missions.

"In July, I was in Israel and was very impressed with their commitment to expanding their role in the world's space community", Bridenstine said.

Israel would be the first country to completely fund such a project with private donations; the 5-foot tall spacecraft would be the smallest spacecraft to reach the moon, and the least expensive effort, at $100 million.

The spacecraft brought an instrument built by the Weizmann Institute of Science, which will measure the moon's magnetic fields as it approaches its landing site at a lava plain called Mare Serenitatis, or the Sea of Serenity.

SpaceX set a company record previous year with 21 launches for customers including commercial satellite operators and the United States (US) military. The landing sequence is a fully autonomous process, unlike the craft's journey to space, where the team can adjust the craft's trajectory if necessary. Beresheet will only be able to run for about three days max once it lands.



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