Israel will Launch a Privately-Funded Spacecraft this Week

Israel plans to become the 4th country that has managed to land a spacecraft on the moon. An uncrewed spacecraft named Beresheet will be launched from Cape Canaveral on Friday.  The petite spacecraft, which weighs 160 kilograms, could be the smallest spacecraft to land on the moon.

The project is a joint effort between the Israel Aerospace Industries and the SpaceIL. Over $100 million were spent on the initiative. The large majority of the funds were provided by well-known Jewish philanthropists

The Soviet Union was the first country that managed to land a spacecraft on the moon. The USA sent several missions that brought back valuable information. In 2013 China was able to successfully land a spacecraft on the dark side of the moon.

Beresheet will be brought in space by one of the SpaceX commercial space launches. The spacecraft will detach from the main body of the Falcon 9 rocket upon reaching the and ideal position. It is estimated that the journey towards the moon will take seven weeks. The spacecraft will fly around the Earth for a few times before it will be able to reach the orbit of the Moon.

A high-ranking SpaceIL employee has declared that the spacecraft will land in the Sea of Tranquility on April 11. The zone was visited in the past by the Apollo 12 and 15 missions. SpaceIL showcased the project at Google’s LunarX PRIZE competition. Participants were tasked with the landing of an unnamed spacecraft on the moon, and the winner would have been rewarded with $20 million. The contest ended on March 31 with no official winner in sight.

SpaceIL decided to continue the project, and a large number of entities were willing to provide the money required to complete the spacecraft.

The spacecraft will be able to measure the magnetic fields on the moon. The data will be used by researchers from the Weizmann Institute to learn more about the formation of the satellite.

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