Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Israel To Launch Moon Mission From Florida In December

The first Israeli lunar spacecraft is to be launched in December from Cape Canaveral Fla The first Israeli lunar spacecraft is to be launched in December from Cape Canaveral Fla
Sandra Phillips | 14 July, 2018, 02:27

"Houston, the Eagle has landed" will soon be a common refrain for Israelis. It involves a 1,300-pound lander piggybacking on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch whose primary payload is a communications satellite. If successful, Israel would become the world's fourth country to land on the moon - a feat only Russian Federation, the United States and China have achieved.

Ido Anteby, chief executive of SpaceIL, outlined the schedule.

The SpaceIL spacecraft is about the size of a dishwasher. "This marvel will land on the moon on February 13, 2019", he said during a press conference.

In the coming months, the Israeli spacecraft will undergo intensive checks and tests at IAI to prove that it can withstand the launch, flight and landing conditions, said Anteby.

The private initiative is expected to cost some United States dollars 95 million, largely supported by Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn. He emphasized that he will underwrite any gaps in funding, saying "this project will not stop, will not have any problem, because of money".

"We're trying to replicate the Apollo effect in the US", Kahn said, a reference to US Apollo mission that took first humans to the moon in 1969.

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"Space is going to be very important to the future", he added.

"This is a tremendous project", Khan said.

Following blast off, the spacecraft will separate from the launch rocket at an altitude of 60,000 kilometres (37,282 miles), and will begin orbiting Earth in elliptical orbits. This long and complex course will allow the spacecraft to reach the moon with minimal fuel consumption.

SpaceIL has continued the moon landing project to serve as a source of inspiration and as fertile ground for a long-term impact on the next generation of scientists and engineers in Israel. 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.

Once it completes its mission, the spacecraft will remain on the moon, proudly displaying the flag of the State of Israel. Weighing 600 kg, this unmanned space vehicle will be the smallest ever to reach the surface of the moon. If it lands on the moon it would be the smallest craft to do so.

That's one small achievement for the world, but one giant leap for Israel.

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