Israel set to land spacecraft on the moon in early 2019

Israel set to land spacecraft on the moon in early 2019

Israel set to land spacecraft on the moon in early 2019

SpaceIL, a nonprofit founded in 2010, said on its website it's the only Israeli team participating in the Google Lunar XPrize competition - a competition to land the first privately-funded unmanned spacecraft on the moon. To win the first prize of $20 million, the participants were required to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon.

Its first task will be to plant an Israeli flag on the moon, organizers said.

The lunar landing will culminate eight years of intensive collaboration between SpaceIL and IAI, and will make Israel the fourth country after the U.S., China and Russian Federation to reach the moon.

SpaceIL's spacecraft is not only small-it measures 2 meters-by-1.5 meters and weighs 600 kilograms (1,323 pounds)-but also significantly less expensive than those usually launched into deep space.

SpaceIL's spacecraft will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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"Our spacecraft will be the smallest ever to land on the moon", said Anteby.

The project culminated in the design of an Israeli lunar probe, which SpaceIL claimed would launch regardless of the contest's outcome.

This Israeli spacecraft is expected to land on the moon in early 2019. 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 overall cost of the project is estimated to be around $95 million. The spacecraft has four carbon fiber legs and fuel takes up two-thirds of its weight.

South African-born Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, who supplied funding for the project, said that he hoped that this mission would create the sort of enthusiasm that greeted the Apollo missions in the United States.

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"What we're doing is we're trying to replicate the Apollo effect in the United States", Kahn told reporters, referring to the surge in interest in science and engineering after the USA space program landed on the moon in 1969. It will orbit Earth in expanding ellipses and, about two months later, cross into the moon's orbit.

The program has always had STEM education as a secondary goal, aiming to encourage Israeli children to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The spacecraft's design and development process, which involved intensive work of engineers, scientists and team members, began in 2013 and continued until previous year, when its construction at the IAI MABAT Plant commenced. In recent years, SpaceIL has ignited the imagination of about 900,000 children nationwide, with the help of a broad network of volunteers.

The mission pursues a goal: they want to learn more about the magnetic features of the moon rocks.

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