Sunday, 26 May, 2019

Watch SpaceX Launch the First Private Lunar Lander Mission

Israel Joins Race To Space: Liftoff Set For Thursday Israel set to join elite lunar club with first mission to moon
Sandra Phillips | 23 February, 2019, 20:44

On Thursday evening, SpaceX launched its first rocket of the year from Cape Canaveral, and tucked inside was the first lunar lander built with mostly private money.

Once it lands on the moon, the spacecraft carrying the Israeli flag will begin taking photographs of the landing site and a selfie to prove that it has indeed landed on the moon. The company is in fact about to launch the first lunar lander produced by a private company and not by a national space agency. "Israel is aiming for the #moon and you're all invited to watch", said a Twitter message from SpaceIL, the non-profit organisation that designed the Israeli craft.

"Israel is a very small country, as small as New Jersey, and we're shooting for the moon, SpaceIL manager of the Beresheet program Yigal Harel said".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was watching the launch live from the Israeli control center in Yehud, near Tel Aviv.

President Reuven Rivlin said, "Congratulations to the State of Israel".

An attempted landing at the Sea of Serenity - a large, dark, basaltic plain also known as a lunar mare - is likely to occur on April 11.

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If the mission succeeds, it could unlock information the moon's iron core. The $100 million Beresheet mission couldn't afford its own rocket - even a little one - so the organizers opted for a ride share. That makes for a much longer trip; the moon right now is almost 230,000 miles away. "So we have to do it by commercial launch".

Falcon 9 fell back through the earth's atmosphere after releasing its triple payload: SpaceIL's $100 million lunar lander, Indonesia's Nusantara Satu satellite, and a US Air Force research satellite.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Thursday at 8:45 p.m. local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. "The superpowers who managed to land a spacecraft on the Moon have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding", IAI said in an earlier statement. More recently, China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft reached lunar orbit a few days after launch. "We are the first nongovernmental mission to the moon, and we're the first-ever moon mission to use a commercial launch". Data will be relayed via the US space agency NASA's Deep Space Network to SpaceIL's Israel-based ground station Yehud.

"All the best to @TeamSpaceIL as it starts its journey tonight on a @SpaceX #Falcon9 from Florida to my old stomping ground ...the moon", Aldrin tweeted.

If successful, Beresheet will end up as the prototype for a series of future moon landing missions planned jointly by IAI and Germany's OHB System on behalf of the European Space Agency. The organizers made a decision to press ahead on their own, with donations from billionaires as well as schoolchildren.

Lunar surface operations are meant to last just two days. Beresheet-which is roughly the size of a washing machine-will beam back images of the lunar surface and carry out measurements of the lunar magnetic field.

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