Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Israel's moon mission launched successfully

Jewish Telegraphic Agency Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Andrew Wong | 23 February, 2019, 05:57

If all goes according to plan, Beresheet will gently touch down on the lunar surface on April 11, becoming the first private spacecraft to reach the surface of another planetary body.

SpaceX hopes to launch the first privately developed lunar lander toward the moon on Thursday night, using a towering Falcon 9 rocket. As we better understand Israel's capabilities and the innovative work of their private industry, we know they'll be an even stronger worldwide partner in the future, one vital to the success of extending commercial space to the Moon and eventually on to Mars and beyond. And since SpaceIL was not the primary payload on this flight-Indonesia's Nusantara Satu satellite, built by Maxar Technologies' SSL, had priority-the team had to devise a clever path to get to the moon.

Just minutes after blasting off, the Falcon 9's nine-engine suborbital main-stage booster rocket could be seen in the sky just as the moon appeared over the horizon. Previously, only the U.S., U.S.S.R, and China have landed spacecraft on the moon.

"For many months, our teams and IAI's were engaged in testing the spacecraft and its systems, conducting complex experiments and preparing for every possible scenario of the mission", CEO of SpaceIL Ido Antebi said.

Bad weather threatened the recovery of the first-stage booster, but after 8-and-a-half minutes following launch, the booster successfully landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceIL's spacecraft set to land on the moon in April is about 5 feet tall with a diameter of 6.5 feet.

After the launch, the craft will disengage from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at around 38,300 miles above Earth's surface, and will then continue on its journey to the Moon.

SpaceIL's mission for the lander is to beam back photos and video, and to measure the magnetosphere.

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The Nasantara Satu mission lifts off from Cape Canaveral on February 21, 2019, carrying SpaceIL's lunar lander bound for the moon.

Spacecraft from several countries, including India's Moon Impact Probe, Japan's SELENE orbiter and a European Space Agency orbital probe called SMART 1, have intentionally crashed on the lunar surface.

Watch history in the making as Israel's Beresheet spacecraft launches upon its historic mission to the moon.

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 SpaceIL strategy of gradually raising Beresheet's orbit around Earth, however, helps to keep the lander's price tag low. NASA has a laser reflector aboard Beresheet and is offering its Deep Space Network for communication.

It'll take the craft seven weeks to reach the moon.

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

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