JERUSALEM, Israel – This Friday, Israel will send its first spacecraft to the moon, a feat that President Rivlin called "Zionism at its best".
The Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL has announced that it would launch a spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. It is expected to land on the moon on April 11th.
The project has been underway for eight years and, if successful, Israel will become the fourth country to land on the moon, after the United States, Russia and China.
The mission was a collaborative effort between SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.
The spaceship is called "Bereishit", a reference to the first words of the Bible recorded in Genesis: "At the beginning".
The machine weighs about 1,300 pounds and is about the size of a washing machine. It will take seven weeks of travel on the moon.
Ido Antebi, CEO of SpaceIL, said the mission had two goals. one of them calls itself "the Apollo effect", to inspire the next generation of young Israelis in the new nation.
"We want Israeli children and young Israelis to be, we encourage them to learn STEM-related subjects – science, technology, engineering and computer science – and we hope they will have this mission, we will create the world of science and technology. effect and will encourage them. "
"The second goal is to promote the space industry here in Israel … and I think we understood it – one of the goals is already achieved."
The mission will last two to three days and once it has landed, the craft will take pictures of the lunar surface and conduct experiments.
The probe also brings the written word of God on the moon. It will include a time capsule containing a database of hundreds of files. The files include a copy of the Bible, information on SpaceIL, Israeli national symbols and other documents.
The capsule will be left on the surface of the moon after Israel has completed its mission on the spot.
SpaceIL presented the privately funded project to President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday.
Rivlin said that it was a dream come true.
"Bereishit's going to make history!" He said. "When I was a child, we wrote fortunes on bubblegum envelopes -" At 21, you'll go to the moon. "Then it seemed fantastic, impossible." Until now, only the big powers have landed on the moon – the United States, the Soviet Union and China.But if everything goes as planned, the state of Israel – our young and small country – will be the fourth country from history to pose a spacecraft on the moon. "
A model of the spaceship is exhibited at the official residence of the president.
"I am delighted and proud that you have decided to turn this project into a wonderful technological achievement, but also into an educational enterprise.You are an example of innovative and daring Israeli innovation.It is Zionism to its best, "said Rivlin.
Morris Kahn, president of Space IL, thanked the president, adding: "This is a tremendous feat and I am proud to be part of it, and the Israeli flag will soon beat on the moon."
Bereishit will travel about 4 million kilometers. It will perform several orbits around the Earth to gain enough speed to shoot towards the moon.