Israeli company plans lunar landing next year

13 Juillet, 2018, 16:12 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • SpaceIL

The event was also attended by Israeli billionaire philanthropist and SpaceIL president Morris Kahn, who donated some $27 million to the project.

Approximately $88 million was invested in the spacecraft's development and construction.

An Israeli non-profit affiliated with the local hi-tech and research communities is planning to launch a spacecraft to the moon as an educational endeavor. "I have experienced numerous challenges in my life, but this was the greatest challenge of all". Kahn said it would be "a tremendous achievement". Once the mission is accomplished, the developer said the spacecraft will remain on the moon as a "symbol of Israeli success". "And this is going to be the first privately run mission to the Moon".

The project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered $30 million (25 million euros) in prizes to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with relatively low-priced moon missions. Construction began at the IAI MABAT Plant past year. At launch it will weigh roughly 1,300 pounds, although more than 880 pounds of that is fuel, which will be burned off before it reaches its final destination.

The Israeli spacecraft, about the size of a dishwasher, measure about 6.6 feet in diameter and about 1.65 feet in height.

At 60,000 kilometers (37,000 miles) above Earth the spacecraft will deploy.

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At this point, the lander will ignite its engines to enter a phase of orbiting the moon prior to attempting a lunar touchdown. These were the words quoted when Neil Armstrong from the U.S. stepped on Moon for the first time.

Organizers said that the spacecraft carrying the Israeli flag will take photos and videos of the landing site as well as record itself during the landing.

On the moon, the vessel will transmit data to the control centre at IAI for two days before its systems shut down.

The initiative aims to raise interest in space and science among Israelis and encourage the younger generations to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professions. With the help of a broad network of volunteers, SpaceIL has already made presentations to about 900,000 children nationwide.

Screenshot from the Moon Kids website. Over the years, additional partners from the private sector, from government companies and from the academia have joined as well. "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".

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