Saturday, 17 November, 2018

First Israeli spacecraft to land on moon next year

Moon landing SpaceIL lunar probe SPACEIL GETTYMoon landing SpaceIL's lunar probe will launch by the end of the year
Doris Mccormick | 12 July, 2018, 12:21

An Israeli non-profit organisation has announced plans to send the first privately-funded unmanned spacecraft to the Moon later this year.

The lunar landing would make Israel the fourth country - after Russian Federation, the United States and China - to put a craft on the surface of the moon. At 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds), it will be the smallest spaceship so far to make a lunar landing.

According to SpaceIL, once the spacecraft disengages from the launch rocket, it will begin orbiting Earth in continuously larger elliptical orbits.

The probe will reportedly use one of Elon Musk's Falcon 9 rockets to launch, and will be the smallest craft to ever land on the moon. ARSP.B1). SpaceIL originally hoped to win Google's Lunar XPRIZE, but eventually failed to meet the criteria, and the competition ended with no winners.

Despite the setback SpaceIL continued developing its spacecraft, which is being built in co-operation with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a state-owned firm.

Josef Weiss, IAI CEO said, "As one who has personally brought the collaboration with SpaceIL to IAI, I regard the launch of the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon as an example of the wonderful capabilities one can reach in civilian-space activity". SpaceIL was the first of 16 Google Lunar XPRIZE competitors to sign a launch contract and one of only five teams to reach the finals.

"The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, in its 70th year, with pride", said SpaceIL President Morris Kahn.

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"We will put the Israeli flag on the moon" said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL.

In total, the project has cost approximately $95 million. The spacecraft has four carbon fiber legs and fuel takes up two-thirds of its weight. It will then begin orbiting the moon, until the appropriate time to begin the landing process.

The entire journey, from launch to landing, is expected to last about eight weeks.

SpaceIL's module is to take photos and video of the landing site and measure the moon's magnetic field as part of a scientific experiment designed by Weizmann Institute researchers.

SpaceIL aims to set in motion an "Apollo effect" in Israel: to encourage the next generation of Israeli children to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); to change their perception of these subjects; to generate a sense of capability; and to allow them to dream big dreams even in our small country.

The spacecraft's design and development process, which involved intensive work of engineers, scientists and team members, began in 2013 and continued until a year ago, when its construction at the IAI MABAT Plant commenced.

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