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Israeli Spacecraft Beresheet Captures Video Of Sunrise On Earth

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Private Israeli spacecraft Beresheet has sent back images of the sunrise as seen from its point of view.

On March 24, the spacecraft sent images and transmitted videos of the sunrise to the control center of Israel Aerospace Industries and SpaceIL in Yehud, Israel.

This update from the Beresheet is a welcome development after the spacecraft experienced a couple of glitches involving its trackers and an unexpected reset of its onboard computer on Feb. 25.

Images From Space

In the sunrise video posted by SpaceIL on Twitter, the Earth can be seen hiding the sun and then exiting the same shadow created by the Earth and the sun's exposure.

"This process creates a kind of sunrise image," SpaceIL posted.

An onboard camera on the moon lander has also captured a view of the Earth from a distance of more than 23,000 miles. The photos and videos were taken by the spacecraft at different heights and times during its journey.

Beresheet Mission

The Beresheet spacecraft, a joint venture between nonprofit companies SpaceIL and the Israel Aerospace Industries is currently on its farthest elliptical orbit around the Earth. It is orbiting Earth at a distance of 81,400 miles.

If all goes according to plan, the lander is slated to intersect the moon's orbit on April 4 at approximately 251,655 miles away from the planet and will land on the moon on April 11.

It will touch down on the moon's surface in April in the northeastern part of Mare Serenitatis or the Sea of Serenity.

If the Beresheet successfully lands on the moon, it would be the first time for an Israel-based spacecraft and a privately funded mission to achieve such a feat.

From Israel To The Moon

The unmanned spacecraft launched toward the Moon from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida last Feb. 21 on board the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It will orbit Earth for four times before orbiting the moon for about eight weeks, and will finally land on the lunar surface.

Since its launch, the Beresheet has performed three key maneuvers to reach higher altitudes. The spacecraft has aligned its orbit to achieve accurate lunar capture. It also accelerated its speed and slightly tilted the angle of the orbit's plane to ensure that it will reach the lunar orbit at the exact time and place. The fourth and last maneuver completed recently was the firing of the spacecraft's engine.

The SpaceIL mission carries a price tag of an estimated $100 million, an achievement for low-cost space exploration.

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