Israel's first lunar mission to start this week



Israel will launch its first lunar mission this week, sending an unmanned spaceship to collect data to share with NASA, the organizers announced on Monday.

The Beresheet (Genesis) satellite, with a capacity of 585 kilograms, is to take off Friday over a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, around 0:45 GMT.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the technological NGO SpaceIL announced this date at a press conference. Mission control will be in Yehud, near Tel Aviv.

A rocket carrying the Ofek 10 military espionage satellite takes off south of Tel Aviv on April 9, 2014. / VCG Photo

A rocket carrying the Ofek 10 military espionage satellite takes off south of Tel Aviv on April 9, 2014. / VCG Photo

"We are entering the history and are proud to belong to a group that has dreamed and realized the vision shared by many countries of the world but that until now, only three of them they have accomplished, "said SpaceIL President Morris Kahn.

Until now, only Russia, the United States and China have sent a spacecraft to the moon.

On January 3, the Chinese craft made the first soft landing on the other side of the moon.

NASA, which has installed equipment on Genesis to load its signals from the Moon, announced last week its intention to land on an unmanned vehicle by 2024 and has launched a call for more information. offers to the private sector for the construction of the American probe.

NASA plans to build a small space station called Gateway on the lunar orbit by 2026.

It will serve as a relay for the comings and goings of the lunar surface, but will not be permanently affected.

Genesis will make its journey of 6.5 million kilometers at a top speed of 10 kilometers per second (36,000 kilometers at the time), according to an IAI statement.

The time capsule is a device containing information about the state of Israel, such as cultural heritage, songs, images, flags. / VCG Photo

The time capsule is a device containing information about the state of Israel, such as cultural heritage, songs, images, flags. / VCG Photo

It will feature a "time capsule" containing digital files containing a Bible, children's drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor and the Israeli blue and white flag.

The US $ 100 million project will measure the lunar magnetic field to better understand the formation of the moon.

"It's the lowest budget spacecraft for such a mission, and the superpowers who have managed to land a space vehicle on the moon have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding," the statement said. l & # 39; IAI.

"Beresheet is the first spacecraft to land on the moon as a result of a private initiative rather than a government."

The project began as a potential entry for the Google Lunar XPrize, which in 2010 offered a US $ 30 million reward to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to offer relatively cheap lunar missions.

The contest ended without a winner in March 2018, but SpaceIL decided to continue working on the challenge.


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