Sci-tech

Israel flying to moon after SpaceX launch

Israel flying to moon after SpaceX launch

The mission's total cost, including launch, is about $100 million, team members have said.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Israel's first spacecraft created to land on the moon lifts off on the first privately-funded lunar mission at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 21, 2019. Funded by the Israeli company SpaceIL, the unmanned, 1,300 pound craft, called "Beresheet", which is the first word in the Bible and means "In the beginning", rocketed into space from Florida's Cape Canaveral. It is scheduled to land on April 11. Beresheet and PSN-6 will now take opposite paths forward, with the lunar lander raising its orbit quite literally to the Moon while PSN-6 drops its high end down and circularizes at approximately 35,800 km (22,250 mi) above Earth.

The rocket also contains an Indonesian satellite and a satellite of the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

It was backed notably by businessman and philanthropist Morris Kahn, who financed the development of a craft.

Falcon 9's first stage for the Nusantara Satu mission previously supported the Iridium-7 mission in July 2018 and the SAOCOM 1A mission in October 2018.

After launching from Cape Canaveral, the spacecraft will make several lunar orbits before attempting a soft landing on the moon's surface. China made history in January with its Chang'e 4, the first to touch down on the dark side of the moon.

More news: Tesla Model 3 Delivery in China Starts Earlier Than Expected

Beresheet, about the size of a dishwasher, was one of three payloads carried aloft by the Falcon 9, part of the private rocket fleet of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's California-based company SpaceX.

An hour after launch, Beresheet's engineers reported that the spacecraft had deployed its landing legs as expected, and was sending back its first signs of life, indicating a safe entry into space. Previously, only the U.S., U.S.S.R, and China have landed spacecraft on the moon.

SpaceX's plan is for the spacecraft's gradually widening Earth orbit to bring the probe within the moon's gravitational pull. Once it lands, it will send photos and video of its new home and conduct scientific measurements and maybe say hi to China's rover. "So we have to do it by commercial launch".

Upon landing, Beresheet should transmit data from the moon for about two days.

As one of the commenters on a YouTube clip of the launch noted, look how much tiny, resource-strained Israel has managed to achieve in the short 70 years of its modern existence? The prize expired a year ago without a victor, but SpaceIL (and several other former teams) kept working on their missions.


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