Israeli unmanned spacecraft to land on Moon in 2019

11 July, 2018, 01:26 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Screen capture from video of a press conference displaying the SpaceIL moon craft

A Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX will carry the craft to the moon from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on February 13, 2019.

For the first time in its history, Israel will have a spacecraft on the moon next year, the SpaceIL corporation announced Tuesday.

This Israeli spacecraft is expected to land on the moon in early 2019.

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. However, the competition expired this March, with the $20m grand prize for landing on the moon unclaimed.

SpaceIL made the announcement at an Israel Aerospace Industries space technology site in Yehud on Tuesday, July 10, after month of preparations. The team says it will be the smallest spacecraft to land on the moon.

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries have raised $88 million (£$66 million, AU$118 million) primarily from private donors to fund the project over the past eight years.

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


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.

Four other teams are still competing against SpaceIL for the honour of winning the Google Lunar XPrize - Moon Express from the US, Team Indus from India, Hakuto from Japan, and Synergy Moon, an global group. Other countries also have groups in the competition, including the United States, Japan and India.

"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.

"This is a tremendous project", Kahn said.

Josef Weiss, IAI CEO said, "As one who has personally brought the collaboration with SpaceIL to IAI, I regard the launch of the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon as an example of the awesome capabilities one can reach in civilian-space activity".

It will be launched via a rocket from American entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX firm and its mission will include research on the moon's magnetic field.

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