SpaceX rocket launch: Falcon 9 spacecraft take-off from Cape Canaveral

SpaceIL team. Courtesy

SpaceIL team. Courtesy

Israel's non-profit SpaceIL launched its spacecraft from Florida's Cape Canaveral Thursday on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, in a bid to become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the moon.

Watch history in the making as Israel's Beresheet spacecraft launches upon its historic mission to the moon. Once the spacecraft lands, which is expected happen sometime in April, the mission will only last a few days as the electronics are not created to handle the rising surface temperatures from the sun, according to the Times.

An Israeli nonprofit called SpaceIL designed and developed the 1,322-lb robot called Beresheet, which means "in the beginning" - the first words in the Bible.

So far, only Russian Federation, the United States and China have made the 384,000-kilometer (239,000-mile) journey and landed spacecraft on the Moon.

Nusantara Satru and S5 will head to geosynchronous orbit before parting ways, while Beresheet conducts a series of phasing loops to raise its orbit until the spacecraft is captured by lunar gravity.

After the launch, the craft will disengage from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at around 38,300 miles above Earth's surface, and will then continue on its journey to the Moon.

After deployment SpaceIL Beresheet will start its two-month voyage to the Moon. SpaceIL co-founder Kfir Damari said, "It is rocket science, but our goal is to show them that it's not magic - it's something they can understand".

The strategy is cost-effective, helping keep Beresheet's total price tag, including launch, at about $100 million - quite low for a mission to another world.

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As one of the commenters on a YouTube clip of the launch noted, look how much tiny, resource-strained Israel has managed to achieve in the short 70 years of its modern existence? The satellite is Indonesia's first high-throughput satellite.

SpaceX is now testing a system to recover the fairings of its Falcon 9 rockets.

The U.S. Air Force also has a small research spacecraft aboard the rocket, for a one-year mission in orbit around Earth. This graphic reveals just how big it is - and what's out there.

Just a few minutes after blastoff, the Falcon 9's nine-engine suborbital main stage booster separated from the upper stage, flew back to Earth and landed safely on a drone ship floating in the Atlantic Ocean off the Florida coast.

All these launched from the Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at the Air Force station.

But the 5-foot-tall (1.5 meters) Beresheet can not take a direct path to the moon, project team members said, because the lander shared a rocket ride with two other payloads.

If they are unable to launch on Thursday they have a backup window on Friday around the same time.

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