The First Israeli Spacecraft Will Get to The Moon on a SpaceX Rocket


The first Israeli spacecraft which will land on the Moon will be launched this December, according to the SpaceIL announcement on 10 July. They plan to have the spacecraft land on the Moon after a two-month trip, on 13 February 2019. On their Twitter account, they said:

“We have a launch and landing dates! December 2018- Launch, February 13, 2019- First Israeli spacecraft lands on the moon! SpaceIL’s moon mission is officially underway #SpaceIL.”

The SpaceIL organization participated in the competition for the Google Lunar XC Prize. The prize would help land an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon, the first one which is privately funded. However, the competition ended with no winner at the end of March, but the competition for the $30 million in cash prize continues, even without the cash.

Back in 2013, SpaceIL began developing its spaceship, cooperating with Israel Aeronautics Industries. The spacecraft will be ready to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

A Small Spacecraft to Search For Moon Rocks

“Meet our spacecraft: small, smart and with a lot of Israeli,” twitted SpaceIL in a second update.

The CEO of the nonprofit SpaceIL, Ido Anteby, said that their spacecraft will be the smallest one ever to land on the surface of the moon. It has only two meters in diameter and is half a meter high. Filled with fuel, it would weigh 585 kilograms when it will be launched, but it should land on the Moon weighing only 180 kilograms as it would burn off most of the fuel.

SpaceIL plans to have Israel be the fourth country in the world to launch their spacecraft to the moon. This way, they will raise interest in space among the people in Israel, and will also encourage young generations to study STEM.

The mission pursues a goal: they want to learn more about the magnetic features of the moon rocks. The spacecraft will have a magnetometer to find out how rocks on the moon got their magnetism.

The other goal is to give birth to an “Apollo Effect” in Israel, mirroring the US enthusiasm that encouraged scientists to continue their research after the Apollo Moon landing in 1969.

It might be a privately funded mission, but SpaceIL could be a national effort looking to raise interest in space travel throughout Israel.


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