Privately Funded Israeli Spacecraft Heads Toward Lunar Landing

Israel's Moon-Bound Spacecraft Sends Back First Selfie From 20K Miles Over Earth

An Israeli spacecraft on Tuesday sent its first selfie from its mission to the moon back to its control room in Yehud, AFP reported.

Australia is clearly visible in the photo of Earth, taken during a slow spin of the spacecraft.

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The sign also has an inscription that reads "Small country big dreams". It was taken some 37,600 kilometers (20,000 miles) away from Earth.

The Twitter account tracking the moon lander that was launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral last month posted the selfie that shows a placard with the Israeli flag in the foreground and Earth in the background. Israel's target date for landing on the moon is April 11. The spacecraft's trackers, which were supposed to follow the stars, failed to work after launch, but on February 24, the spacecraft still managed to complete its first maneuver successfully when Beresheet's main engine was activated.

"Privately Funded Israeli Spacecraft Heads Toward Lunar Landing" is part of Aviation Week & Space Technology's subscription package.

During its weeklong science mission, Beresheet will measure the moon's magnetic field and send back high-resolution views of its surroundings - no doubt including an Apollo-style picture of Earth looming above the lunar surface.

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