Space Systems Loral took on that responsibility, signing up rideshare broker Spaceflight Inc. of Seattle, Washington, which then secured Israel's 600-kilogram Beresheet lander and the Air Force Research laboratory's 60-kilogram S5 smallsat.
The Nusantara Satu Mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:45 p.m. EST Thursday evening with several payloads on board.
"This is history in the making - and it's live!" The 1,290-pound (585-kilogram) spacecraft was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with $100 million furnished nearly entirely by private donors. Previously, only the U.S., U.S.S.R, and China have landed spacecraft on the moon. The four-legged lunar lander represents the country's first attempt to land on the Moon, but it also happens to be the first privately-funded lunar lander.
"The problem with that is, it doesn't allow us to choose the orbit completely", says Yonathan Winetraub, one of the founders of SpaceIL. If this mission succeeds, Israel will become the fourth-and by far the smallest-country to reach the lunar surface. The first soft landing on the moon came in 1966; executed by both the both Russian Federation and the United States; there was not another unmanned soft landing until China launched Chang'e 3 in 2013.
"This is the beginning of Israel's story in deep space. whether this succeeds or fails", SpaceIL president and billionaire high-tech developer Morris Kahn, who invested $US44 million of his own money into the Beresheet project, said.
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SpaceIL's spacecraft set to land on the moon in April is about 5 feet tall with a diameter of 6.5 feet.
Americans are the only ones to have walked on the lunar surface, but have not been there since 1972.
Here's a layman's explanation of how Beresheet will arrive at its destination. Beresheet carries a "time capsule" loaded with digital files containing a Bible, children's drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor and the blue-and-white Israeli flag. It aims to put a craft with a rover onto the Moon's surface to collect data. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World. To achieve this, the United States space agency is changing its model and no longer wants to design the missions itself.
(An Indonesian communications satellite and a small payload for the U.S. Air Force were also nestled inside the Falcon 9's payload fairing.) "We knew we didn't have a Saturn V [to get to the moon], so we're using SpaceX", Yigal Harel, head of SpaceIL's spacecraft program, said during a pre-launch news conference on Wednesday night.