Israel wants to send landing craft to the Moon by year’s end

Moon landing SpaceIL lunar probe

Moon landing SpaceIL lunar probe

SpaceIL and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries plan to launch their unmanned craft in December hoping to become the first non-governmental entity to land a spacecraft on the moon. "The excellent teams of SpaceIL and IAI are working with determination to complete this unique technological challenge in time for the launch date this December".

The other countries to have done so are Russian Federation, the United States and China.

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.

"The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, on its 70th year of birth, with pride".

The endeavor began, reports i24News, when Google Lunar XPrize, wanting to encourage innovation, offered a hefty sum ($30 million) for the person or company who could come up with a relatively low-priced mission to the moon.

The SpaceIL craft is 1.5 meters (five feet) high and two meters in diameter, able to reach a maximum speed of more than 10 kilometers (6 miles) per second.

SpaceIL, in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries, will launch the probe in December from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a SpaceX Flacon 9 Rocket, according to officials at a media event announcing the launch in the city of Yehud, adjacent to Ben-Gurion International Airport.

"As soon as the spacecraft reaches the landing point, it will be completely autonomous", Anteby said at the press conference, The Times of Israel reported.

Two Israeli companies want to make their home nation only the fourth to ever reach the moon. In May, China launched a relay satellite that will orbit the moon and allow it to receive signals from a planned probe that will land on the far side of the moon.

"It's a small, smart spaceship", said SpaceIL CEO Dr. Ido Anteby. It will orbit Earth in expanding ellipses and, about two months later, cross into the moon's orbit.

The plan calls for the lander to execute a series of in-space maneuvers, then touch down on the lunar surface next February to transmit imagery and measure the moon's magnetic field.

The opportunity to win $30 million through the competition ended in March, but now continues without a cash prize.

But SpaceIL has continued to work on its moon mission. In recent years, SpaceIL has ignited the imagination of about 900,000 children nationwide, with the help of a broad network of volunteers.

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