SpaceX launches satellites, moon mission on Falcon 9

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

The 1.5-meter Beresheet is expected to land on the moon on April 11.

This major liftoff, which will take place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:45 p.m. EST, will begin Israel's first eight-week journey to the moon.

If Beresheet's landing is successful, it will make Israel the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the moon. The 1,290-pound (585-kg) spacecraft was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with $100 million furnished nearly entirely by private donors.

A time capsule is aboard the lander - which includes a picture of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died aboard space shuttle Columbia in 2003 - as well as a lunar library containing 30 million pages on a disk from the US -based Arch Mission Foundation.

The mission was originally intended for Google's Lunar Xprize, a competition created to encourage privately funded groups to send robotic landers to the moon.

Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL's Beresheet lander separated 33 minutes after liftoff.

"In religion and ethics, science and scholarship, we have long reached for the stars; now we are rightfully reaching the moon".

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SpaceIL was established in 2011, aiming to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon.

"We are building a coalition of nations to return to the moon sustainably,"Bridenstines said, adding on, "This time when we go, we're going to stay".

"There is a lot of interest internationally on the moon", Bridenstine said.

SpaceX recovered a payload fairing for the first time in 2017.

Once Beresheet's two days are up, the dead spacecraft won't be entirely useless. SpaceIL has also included a time capsule in the spacecraft packed with digital files that hold information about the spacecraft and a variety of Israeli memorabilia. A time capsule is aboard the lander - which includes a picture of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died aboard space shuttle Columbia in 2003 - as well as a lunar library containing 30 million pages on a disk from the US -based Arch Mission Foundation.

Around the size of a dishwasher, Beresheet is one of three sets of cargo carried by the Falcon 9, part of the private rocket fleet of billionaire PayPal founder Elon Musk's company SpaceX. The $100 million Beresheet mission couldn't afford its own rocket - even a little one - so the organisers opted for a ride share.

Nusantara Satu is a 4,100-kilogram communications satellite equipped with C- and Ku-band transponders, mainly for broadband connectivity. Falcon 9 will also deliver the Beresheet lunar spacecraft and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) S5 spacecraft to orbit. "Additionally, the satellite's C-band and Ku-band transponders will be used for voice and data communications and video distribution throughout the Indonesian archipelago".

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