A small spacecraft named Beresheet took off on a trip to the moon yesterday, vaulting an improbable group of privately funded Israeli scientists to heights achieved only by the world's largest government space agencies.
SpaceIL's lunar lander, named Beresheet, is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket today (Feb. 21) at 8:45 p.m. EST (0145 GMT on February 22), and you can watch the launch live here on Space.com. The 1,290-pound (585 kg) spacecraft was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with $100 million furnished nearly entirely by private donors.
The Israeli craft is expected to reach its destination on April 11, making Israel the fourth country to land on the moon, behind the U.S., Russian Federation and China.
The $100 million (NIS 370 million) spacecraft is a joint venture between private companies SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, funded nearly entirely by private donations from well-known Jewish philanthropists, including South African billionaire Morris Kahn, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lynn Schusterman, and others.
Beresheet (Hebrew for "in the beginning") was put together by non-profit outfit SpaceIL to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
The spacecraft brought an instrument built by the Weizmann Institute of Science, which will measure the moon's magnetic fields as it approaches its landing site at a lava plain called Mare Serenitatis, or the Sea of Serenity.
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If he does depart, he will do so as the most successful captain in the club's history. "He is an incredible human being". But Guardiola told reporters at The Etihad that he was planning to talk to the centre-back at the end of the season.
The exciting project could be a landmark achievement for Israel's voyage into space, and Sputnik has compiled all you need to know about the forthcoming lunar mission.
The SpaceIL venture would be the first of these designs to launch, and Israel now has a shot at turning into the fourth nation to land a robotic probe on the moon - after the previous Soviet Union, America and China.
At a cost of $100 million, "this is the lowest-budget spacecraft to ever undertake such a mission".
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. But the group behind SpaceIL made a decision to continue its mission, turning to donors to help fund the barebones operation. Beresheet will send information for approximately two to three days before the sun's rays are expected to melt parts of the communication system, ending the mission. Its first spaceship designed for a moon landing is set to take off later this evening from Florida.
"This is Uber-style space exploration, so we're riding shotgun on the rocket", Winetraub explained at a news conference on the eve of launch.
The rocket also contains an Indonesian satellite and a satellite of the US Air Force Research Laboratory. Ramon's widow, Rona, continued to fuel that inspiration after the Columbia disaster, Damari added. The booster landed smoothly on an offshore ocean platform, after the hottest re-entry yet, according to SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk.