Israel plans to launch moon mission on SpaceX rocket this year

11 Julio, 2018, 01:28 | Author: Enrique Watson
  • Screen capture from video of a press conference displaying the SpaceIL moon craft

For the first time in its history, Israel will have a spacecraft on the moon next year, the SpaceIL corporation announced Tuesday.

SpaceIL is backed mainly by private donors, including USA casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and billionaire Morris Kahn who co-founded Amdocs, one of Israel's biggest high-tech companies.

The probe will reportedly use one of Elon Musk's Falcon 9 rockets to launch, and will be the smallest craft to ever land on the moon.

This illustration imagines what the spacecraft would look like on the moon.

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".

The project culminated in the design of an Israeli lunar probe, which SpaceIL claimed would launch regardless of the contest's outcome.

It is measured to be four-feet high, and 6 ½-feet in diameter, and it will be able to reach a maximum speed of 22,370 miles per hour. "Projects like the Google Lunar XPrize competition in space are needed to push humanity forwards".

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The spacecraft is a "hopper", which will land and then take off again with the fuel left in its propulsion system, and then perform another landing 500m away, as required by the XPrize.

The project began when young engineers - Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub - chose to build a spacecraft and take part in the Lunar Xprize competition sponsored by Google, which originally included a $20 million prize for the first group of contestants to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon.

Mr Kahn said he hoped the mission would create an "Apollo effect" for the next generation in Israel - a reference to the enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and maths triggered by Neil Armstrong's Moon walk in 1969.

"This is a tremendous project", Kahn said.

Three countries have landed missions on the moon: the US, Russia and China.

Josef Weiss, IAI CEO said, "As one who has personally brought the collaboration with SpaceIL to IAI, I regard the launch of the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon as an example of the unbelievable capabilities one can reach in civilian-space activity".

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