Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft has passed the testing phase and is expected to launch this February. The first privately funded moon mission also marks the beginning of the space era of Israel.
Israel’s Beresheet Spacecraft
It was last July when Israeli company SpaceIL announced that it plans to send the first privately funded spacecraft to the moon. Just this Wednesday, it’s looking like the company’s goals are right on track after it tweeted that it completed the testing phase successfully at SpaceX’s facility in Florida.
The launch is expected to happen this February when it will launch aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and split from the rocket once it reaches an altitude of 37,000 miles. From there the spacecraft will commence maneuvers that will take it to the surface of the moon about eight weeks after the launch.
While Beresheet is not expected to return to Earth, the 1,290-pound spacecraft will send back data it will collect with its instruments, and it is also carrying a time capsule for any future moon explorers to discover.
Israel’s Space Era
Should all go according to plan, Beresheet will not only be the first privately funded spacecraft on a moon mission, but it will also give Israel the title of being the fourth nation to send a spacecraft to the moon, after the United States, Russia, and China. In fact, the spacecraft’s name Beresheet actually means “in the beginning” in Hebrew. The name was voted by the public, and symbolizes the beginning of the space era in Israel.
But apart from making a name for themselves in the space race, SpaceIL also aims to inspire future generations of all ages and sectors to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and to see the opportunities that can come to them through STEM education.
SpaceIL is a nonprofit organization that aims to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, and to further science and technology education in Israel.
"Beresheet", the first ever #Israeli lunar #spacecraft, will launch next month! Whilst we're waiting, we asked kids from around the globe what would they take with them to the #moon? Watch & listen to their wise answers. #israeltothemoon @ILAerospaceIAI pic.twitter.com/MEt9qVKxDj — SpaceIL (@TeamSpaceIL) January 30, 2019