The spacecraft - called Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis or "In The Beginning" - will take almost two months to reach the moon.
The $100 million joint venture between SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. was financed mostly by Jewish philanthropists including Morris Kahn, SpaceIL's president and a founder of Amdocs Ltd., and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. The Chinese craft made the first ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on January 3.
SpaceIL was founded eight years ago to compete in the Google Lunar X Prize, an global competition to see whether a private enterprise could land a spacecraft on the moon, move 500 meters in any direction, and transmit live, high-definition video from the lunar surface.
The forty-day voyage culminates with a landing scheduled for April 11.
Beresheet (Hebrew for "in the beginning") was put together by non-profit outfit SpaceIL to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
Beresheet, about the size of a dishwashing machine, was one of three payloads carried aloft by the Falcon 9, part of the private rocket fleet of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's California-based company SpaceX.
Winetraub pointed out that the moon and the earth had to be in sync before the rocket could launch, adding, "The moon is coming around, and we're doing our own orbit, and we need to synchronize everything". The four-legged lunar lander represents the country's first attempt to land on the Moon, but it also happens to be the first privately-funded lunar lander.
During a mission slated to last just two to three days on the moon, Beresheet will use on board instruments to photograph the landing site on the Sea of Tranquility, SpaceIL vice-president Yigal Harel said.
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Israel seeks to become only the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after Russian Federation, the United States, and China. A flight path directly from the Earth to the moon would cover roughly 386,242 km. The craft went up Thursday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying a triple payload.
About 75% of the Beresheet mass is fuel, which pushes it into a lunar orbit.
A decision to make the lunar hop won't be made until after the landing in April, but there's really nothing to gain from such a manoeuvre - one that could unnecessarily damage the probe.
But before it can land, Beresheet must make it to the moon, and its six-week jaunt around the Earth may seem like an odd approach.
While the lander is a SpaceIL creation, NASA is still involved in the project.
It will also measure the moon's magnetic field and send all the data back to SpaceIL's Israel-based ground station Yehud, via NASA's Deep Space Network, he said.
"In religion and ethics, science and scholarship, we have long reached for the stars; now we are rightfully reaching the moon".