Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Israeli company plans lunar landing next year

Israeli company plans lunar landing next year

The lunar landing will culminate eight years of intensive collaboration between SpaceIL and IAI, and will make Israel the fourth country after the U.S., China and Russian Federation to reach the moon.

The private initiative is expected to cost some $95 million, largely supported by Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn.

SpaceIL launched in 2011 when engineers Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub partnered to compete in the Google Lunar XPRIZE-an global competition to put a small, mobile craft on the moon.

"It's going to show the way for the rest of the world" to send a spacecraft to the moon at a reasonable cost, said IAI's Ofer Doron.

"We will all remember where we were when Israel landed on the moon", Morris Kahn, one of the project's leaders, said announcing the mission.

The research, conducted in cooperation with scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, will use a magnetometer on the spacecraft to attempt to understand how the rocks on the moon received their magnetism.

The spacecraft's design and development process, which involved intensive work of engineers, scientists and team members, began in 2013 and continued until previous year, when its construction at the IAI MABAT Plant commenced.

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

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. Israel hopes to be the fourth when it launches a spacecraft this December with an assist from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. If it passes, it will head into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida, as a secondary payload along with satellites on a SpaceX rocket.

The probe will reportedly plant an Israeli flag on the moon, before carrying out research. The data will be transmitted to the IAI control room during the two days following the landing.

Initially, this plan was part of a competition that Google set up called the Lunar XPrize.

The entire endeavour began roughly seven years ago when SpaceIL joined a Google technology contest to land a small, unmanned probed on the moon. The prize would have given $30 million to the team that developed a low-priced method of robotic space exploration.

After succeeding in raising the critical funds to continue its activity, SpaceIL announced that it was determined to continue on its mission and to launch its spacecraft by the end of the year, regardless of the competition.

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