Israel Plans to Land Unmanned Spacecraft on Moon in February

13 Juillet, 2018, 10:57 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Israeli scientists stand next to an unmanned spacecraft in Yahud

Built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the lander, which looks like a large spider, is created to land on the Moon.

Upon landing, the craft will relay photographs and collect data about the moon's magnetism for research by Israel's Weizmann Institute.

The other countries to have done so are Russian Federation, the United States and China.

Google Lunar prize was intended as reward for the first commercial organization which will land a spacecraft on the Moon.

"It should be noted that only three countries have so far landed spacecraft on the moon - the United States, Russia and China - and all three have done so with tremendous financial investment and with the participation of thousands of engineers", said venture capitalist Maurice Kahn, a major contributor and for years the chairman of the SpaceIL board.

"The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, on its 70th year of birth, with pride".

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The work has been funded by philanthropists, but it is also supported by the Israel Space Agency and major hi-tech corporations such as Elbit, Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries. The Israeli craft will be the smallest to land on the moon, weighing only 1,322 pounds or 600 kilograms.

SpaceIL CEO Anteby said that the organisation will put the Israeli flag on the Moon.

"We need to think about backup plans", Weiss said. "SpaceIL's moon mission is officially underway #SpaceIL". The victor was expected to earn a prize of 20 million dollars to fund the landing of the first non-governmental unmanned spacecraft on the moon. "In the coming months the spacecraft will undergo a series of intensive checks and tests at IAI, to prove that it will withstand the launch, flight and landing conditions".

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.

SpaceIL, an Israeli initiative group for space exploration, announced that as soon as in the end of 2018 the first lunar orbiter will be launched. It is expected that the "mission" will wrap up in a mere two days. The competition ended officially with no victor on March 31, when Google announced that it would no longer sponsor it.

SpaceIL aims to set in motion an "Apollo effect" in Israel: To encourage the next generation of Israeli children to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); to change their perception of these subjects; to generate a sense of capability; and to allow them to dream big dreams even in their small country.

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