Israel Plans to Land Unmanned Spacecraft on Moon in February

ARSP.B1). SpaceIL originally hoped to win Google's Lunar XPRIZE, but eventually failed to meet the criteria, and the competition ended with no winners. The company undertook to launch its spacecraft this year, and has now announced its timetable for doing so.

SpaceIL, in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries, will launch the probe in December from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a SpaceX Flacon 9 Rocket, according to officials at a media event announcing the launch in the city of Yehud, adjacent to Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Lacking the resources of those superpowers, SpaceIL turned to private donors to fund the project.

SpaceIL's spacecraft is not only small-it measures 2 meters-by-1.5 meters and weighs 600 kilograms (1,323 pounds)-but also significantly less expensive than those usually launched into deep space.

The Israeli spacecraft would be the lightest ever to land on the moon, weighing only 1,322 lbs.

The project culminated in the design of an Israeli lunar probe, which SpaceIL claimed would launch regardless of the contest's outcome.

"The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, in its 70th year, with pride", said SpaceIL President Morris Kahn.

Dr Anteby said: "We will put the Israeli flag on the moon". It will separate from the rocket at 37,000 miles above the Earth and enter an elliptical orbit and slowly expand until it's captured by lunar gravity. It will then begin orbiting the moon, until the appropriate time to begin the landing process. "From the moment the spacecraft reaches the point that it begins the landing, it will handle it totally autonomously".

The entire journey, from launch to landing, is expected to last about eight weeks.

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

But SpaceIL has continued to work on its moon mission. The data will be transmitted to the IAI control room during the two days following the landing.

SpaceIL aims to set in motion an "Apollo effect" in Israel: to encourage the next generation of Israeli children to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); to change their perception of these subjects; to generate a sense of capability; and to allow them to dream big dreams even in our small country. With the help of a broad network of volunteers, SpaceIL has already made presentations to about 900,000 children nationwide. 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.

Ofer Doron, director of Israeli Aerospace Industry Program with the space craft.

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