Israel's First Moon Mission to Take Off Today From Florida

This video grab taken from the Space X webcast transmission on Februrary 21 2019 shows Nusantara Satu satellite lifting off Space Launch Complex 40 carrying Israel's Beresheet spacecraft. — AFP

Israel's First Moon Mission to Take Off Today From Florida

A Falcon 9 rocket carrying an Israeli rover is expected to reach the moon sometime in April.

SpaceIL officials have said they hope Beresheet will help inspire Israel's defence-focused space programme to pursue more science-oriented missions. Additionally, onboard shall be an experimental navy satellite tv for pc referred to like the S5, which SpaceX will launch for the U.S. Air Pressure Analysis Laboratory.

The Israeli craft was placed in Earth orbit, from where it will use its own engine to undertake a seven-week trip to reach the Moon and touch down on April 11 in a large plain.

Previously, Russia (as the Soviet Union) and the United States have landed on the moon. The spacecraft is carrying a Hebrew Bible inscribed with nanotechnology on a small metal circle the size of a NIS 5 coin, and a time capsule with Israel's Declaration of Independence and national anthem, the memories of a Holocaust survivor, children's drawings of space and the moon, the Traveler's Prayer and a note from the late president Shimon Peres.

The 1,290-pound (585 kg), dishwasher-sized lander was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with $100 million (roughly Rs. 710 crores) furnished nearly entirely by private donors.

Americans are the only ones to have walked on the lunar surface, but have not been there since 1972.

About a half-hour after launching, the lunar lander will separate from the SpaceX rocket at a little more than 37,282 miles above Earth's surface and start a two-month journey to the Moon.

Technically, it is far from a trivial mission. It was developed and constructed at a cost of only $100 million. The agreement made it possible to reduce the risks to the spacecraft on its way to the moon.

SpaceIL was the only Israeli contestant in the global Google LunarX PRIZE competition, which offered participants a chance to win $20 million by landing an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. So did NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who called it "a historic step for all nations and commercial space as we look to extend our collaborations beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the moon". The data may provide information about the moon's iron core.

In an effort to preserve important human knowledge, Beresheet is also installed with a time capsule meant to serve as a backup for human civilization in a safe location off our planet.

As seen from the launch site, the distant glow of the returning booster rocket was visible in the sky just as the moon appeared over the horizon.

SpaceIL has no plans for future explorations of its own beyond Beresheet and "will not continue after this mission", Harel said.

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