Israel gets set to land first spacecraft on the moon

Israeli scientists stand next to an unmanned spacecraft in Yahud

SpaceIL was one of five finalists that failed to claim any part of the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30 million twenty-first century space race to send the first private mission to the Moon.

"When the rocket goes into orbit", Kahn said, "I think we will all remember where we were when Israel landed on the moon".

Israel announced Tuesday that it will launch its first lunar mission in December 2018, hoping to become the fourth country to land on the moon, following the U.S., Russian Federation and China.

Israel revealed on Tuesday, July 10, a plan to launch its first moon mission in December aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Despite the setback SpaceIL continued developing its spacecraft, which is being built in co-operation with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a state-owned firm.

Since SpaceIL's establishment, the mission of landing an Israeli spacecraft on the moon has become a national project embodying educational values, funded by donors such as Dr. Miriam and Mr. Sheldon Adelson, Mr. Sammy Sagol, Mrs. Lynn Schusterman, Mr. Steven Grand and others.

The project culminated in the design of an Israeli lunar probe, which SpaceIL claimed would launch regardless of the contest's outcome. "And this is going to be the first privately run mission to the Moon".

This Israeli spacecraft is expected to land on the moon in early 2019.

The overall cost of the project is estimated to be around $95 million.

Despite financial pitfalls in recent years that almost saw SpaceIL's spacecraft grounded permanently, the team is confident that December's launch will take place on time.

"We will put the Israeli flag on the moon" said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL. It will then ignite its engines and reduce its speed to allow the moon's gravity to pull it in, and will begin orbiting it.

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

Once it touches down on the moon, the spacecraft will use its cameras to take photos and video of the lunar surface.

The initiative aims to raise interest in space and science among Israelis and encourage the younger generations to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professions. With the help of a broad network of volunteers, SpaceIL has already made presentations to about 900,000 children nationwide.

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

The spacecraft's design and development process, which involved intensive work of engineers, scientists and team members, began in 2013 and continued until previous year, when its construction at the IAI MABAT Plant commenced.

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