Israel plans to launch moon mission on SpaceX rocket this year

A scientist stands next to an unmanned spacecraft which an Israeli team plans to launch into space at the end of the year and to land it on the Moon next year in Yahud Israel

Israel plans to launch moon mission on SpaceX rocket this year

Nevertheless, despite concern that its activity would be terminated for lack of money, SpaceIL continued its activity with the aim of adding Israel to the exclusive club of countries that have landed on the Moon, the only members of which are the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China.

South African-Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, president of SpaceIL, who has donated $27 million to the enterprise, was extremely excited: "The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, in its 70th year, with pride".

Its first task will be to plant an Israeli flag on the moon, organizers said. The spaceship will be sent to the Cape Canaveral in the United States for its launch a month before that and is scheduled to land on the Moon on February 13, 2019.

SpaceIL made the announcement at an Israel Aerospace Industries space technology site in Yehud on Tuesday, July 10, after month of preparations. 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.

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SpaceIL was the only Israeli company involved in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which carried a £15million ($20million) victory prize until it was scrapped in March 2018 due to contestants' missed deadlines.

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries have raised $88 million (£$66 million, AU$118 million) primarily from private donors to fund the project over the past eight years.

Along with Kahn, the Israeli Space Agency and US megadonor casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson are funding SpaceIL. As soon as the spacecraft reaches the landing point it will be completely autonomous.

"The motor will brake the craft and it will reach the ground at zero speed for a soft landing".

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The Israeli spacecraft, about the size of a dishwasher, measure about 6.6 feet in diameter and about 1.65 feet in height.

The probe weighs approximately 600kg on Earth but that weight will drop down to 180kg in the Moon's lower gravity pull.

SpaceIL participated in the Google Lunar XPrize competition, which wrapped up earlier this year with no ultimate victor. "Projects like the Google Lunar XPrize competition in space are needed to push humanity forwards".

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