For the first time: an Israeli spacecraft will land on the moon
After eight years of development with IAI, SpaceIL announced today that an Israeli spacecraft will be launched for the first time in December. Thus, Israel will become the fourth nation to land on the moon after China, Russia and America.
SpaceIL is a non-profit organization established in 2011 with the aim of landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. The association was founded by three young engineers: Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Weintraub, who responded to the challenge of the global competition Google Lunar XPRIZE: A modern international race for landing an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. SpaceIL is the only Israeli representative. The prize for the first-place winners is 20$ million. The association committed to contribute the potential winnings to the advancement of science and scientific-technological education in Israel.
In January of this year, SpaceIL reached the final of the competition, in which only five teams remained. The international competition sponsored by Google came to an official end on 31 March 2018, but the association continues its national mission. SpaceIL, together with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), are jointly developing the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon. The spacecraft is expected to launch on a spacecraft launched by Spacex.
The distance to the Moon from the Earth is about 384,000 km, which is 10 times the distance between Earth and the communications satellites that fly around it. In order to get out of the atmosphere, the spacecraft will be launched to the Moon on a giant commercial launcher: SPACEX. The spacecraft will be disconnected from the launcher, and will begin orbiting the Earth in elliptical orbits, with a total distance of 9 million kilometers. The journey to the Moon is expected to last about 8 weeks from launch to landing.
According to the company's CEO, Ido Antebi, this is the smallest spacecraft to land on the moon, which will be launched at 600 kilograms and will land at 180 kilograms, after flying at about 10 kilometers per second, which is about 36,000 km / h. The spacecraft was built and programmed to carry out all operations autonomously, with command from Earth, via the control room at IAI's factory in Yehud.