Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Israel flying to moon as a result of SpaceX launch

An artistic image of SpaceIL's Beresheet lander on the moon's surface An artistic image of SpaceIL's Beresheet lander on the moon's surface
Sandra Phillips | 22 February, 2019, 11:16

NASA, which has installed equipment on Beresheet to upload its signals from the Moon, said last week it aims to land instruments later this year or next year and that it is inviting private sector bids to build and launch the U.S. probes.

Hawthorne-based SpaceX successfully launched a rocket Thursday from Cape Canaveral carrying three payloads, including a lunar lander that could make Israel the fourth country to ever deposit a spacecraft on the moon.

SpaceX is launching Israel's first mission to the moon tonight and live streaming the historic liftoff for fans. Beresheet and PSN-6 will now take opposite paths forward, with the lunar lander raising its orbit quite literally to the Moon while PSN-6 drops its high end down and circularizes at approximately 35,800 km (22,250 mi) above Earth.

The lander, named Beresheet (meaning "in the beginning" in Hebrew), was built by the Israeli nonprofit organization SpaceIL, which began working on this mission in 2011 as a contestant in the Google Lunar X Prize.

The Beresheet mission originally was part of the Google Lunar XPrize competition and even made the final cut before the contest ended past year without a victor.

The modern day space race has also seen China land a rover on the far side of the moon.

"At SpaceIL we hope that the next generation of engineers and scientists will be able to bring Beresheet back to Earth", the company said.

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"There is a lot of interest internationally on the moon", Bridenstine said.

Beresheet will stay on the moon until someday, perhaps, Israeli astronauts can retrieve it. NASA contributed the device to this mission as part of an agreement with SpaceIL that would allow the startup company to utilize the DSN for its moon mission. A time capsule is aboard the lander - which includes a picture of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died aboard space shuttle Columbia in 2003 - as well as a lunar library containing 30 million pages on a disk from the USA -based Arch Mission Foundation. The library contains "millions of documents from all around the world, different dictionaries [and] encyclopedias" on three laser-etched coins each about the size of a nickel, Winetraub said.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launches two satellites and Israel's first moon lander on February 21, 2019.

Once ejected from its vehicle, the spacecraft robot will then use its British-built engine to propel itself to the moon. The $100 million Beresheet mission couldn't afford its own rocket - even a little one - so the organisers opted for a ride share. "This is Uber-style space exploration, so we're riding shotgun on the rocket".

The rocket's two other payloads were a telecommunications satellite for Indonesia and an experimental satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

Nusantara Satu is a 4,100-kilogram communications satellite equipped with C- and Ku-band transponders, mainly for broadband connectivity. "Additionally, the satellite's C-band and Ku-band transponders will be used for voice and data communications and video distribution throughout the Indonesian archipelago".

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