Published: Sat, February 23, 2019
Sci-tech | By Laverne Osborne

Israel Launches First-Ever Mission to the Moon

Israel Launches First-Ever Mission to the Moon

The spacecraft - called Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis or "In The Beginning" - will take almost two months to reach the moon. 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.

Spaceflight Industries acts as a broker for satellite operators that need to get into space, finding extra room on rockets already launching. The primary payload was the Indonesian Nusantara Satu communications satellite, also known as PSN 6. The moon doesn't have a global magnetic field like Earth does, but specific regions and rocks are magnetized, as previous lunar expeditions have found. Mare Serenitatis is one of these regions, and Beresheet aims to collect more data about it. NASA and SpaceIL will share that data, as part of their flight support agreement.

USA satellite manufacturer Space Systems Loral, a Maxar company, purchased the Falcon 9 launch on behalf of its customer Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, or PSN.

The Jewish State would join the U.S., Russia, and China as the only countries to land a spacecraft on the moon. The $100 million mission is headed by SpaceIL, a nonprofit organization based in Israel.

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.

The four-legged Beresheet, barely the size of a washing machine, will circle Earth in ever bigger loops until it's captured by lunar gravity and goes into orbit around the moon.

The U.S. Apollo program tallied six manned missions to the moon - the only ones yet achieved - between 1969 and 1972, with about a dozen more robotic landings combined by the United States and Soviets.

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to testify before House oversight panel next week
Attorney's Office in NY among the examples in which he said the committee had information that contradicted Whitaker's testimony. He cited Whitaker's response to questioning about whether he'd been asked to make changes to the U.S.

As CNN noted, the first hard landing on the moon came in 1959, when Russian Federation launched Luna 2, which crashed onto the moon; the USA followed with Ranger 4 in 1962. The trajectory will degrade until a landing on the moon's northern hemisphere can be made.

SpaceX is broadcasting the launch of its mission starting 15 minutes before launch, or around 8:30 p.m. this evening.

SpaceX plans to stream live footage of the launch via YouTube, and you can watch the company's broadcast using the embedded video player below.

The SpaceIL strategy of gradually raising Beresheet's orbit around Earth, however, helps to keep the lander's price tag low. Beresheet is only expected to survive on the lunar surface for about two or three days. This is what makes NASA's offer to track the spacecraft with its Deep Space Network and lunar orbiters so valuable.

Beresheet would mark the first non-government lunar landing.

Under the original terms of the Google Lunar X Prize contest, Beresheet would have been required to fire thrusters and hop to a new location at least 500 meters away from the landing site.

Like this: