Photos From SpaceX’s 70th Launch of Lunar Lander for Israel

SpaceX Is Launching Israel's First Mission to the Moon Tonight

Israel Joins Race To Space: Liftoff Set For Thursday

Antebi says SpaceIL wants to show that a small country, with a small budget can join the prestigious moon landing club of the US, Russia, and China. Eastern, deploying the Beresheet lunar lander 33 minutes later, and the Nusantara Satu telecom satellite with the S5 experimental smallsat almost 45 minutes after liftoff. "Israel is aiming for the #moon and you're all invited to watch", said a Twitter message from SpaceIL, the non-profit organization that designed the Israeli craft.

It's the third time this booster has been launched and landed, and marks SpaceX's 34th successful landing. Data will be relayed via the U.S. space agency NASA's Deep Space Network to SpaceIL's Israel-based ground station Yehud.

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". Beresheet and PSN-6 will now take opposite paths forward, with the lunar lander raising its orbit quite literally to the Moon while PSN-6 drops its high end down and circularizes at approximately 35,800 km (22,250 mi) above Earth.

Missions as complex as a moon landing have previously been the purview of only large and well-funded space agencies, but the growth of the private space industry and the development of shared payload technologies has opened up new opportunities for smaller, privately funded operations.

The competition was canceled in January 2018 when none of the five teams left in the competition was able to meet the March deadline for a launch. In addition to Kahn, Dr Miriam Adelson, an Israeli-American doctor and philanthropist, and her husband, casino magnate and investor Sheldon Adelson, contributed $US24 million to keep the lunar lander soaring.

The spacecraft will slingshot around Earth for about six weeks, firing thrusters to stretch out its orbit with every pass until it can be captured by the moon's gravity. The prize expired past year without a victor, but SpaceIL (and several other former teams) kept working on their missions. "Make us proud", he said on Thursday.

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After all, the Apollo missions flew directly to the moon, landing less than a week after launch.

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.

S5, built by Blue Canyon Technologies of Boulder, Colorado, is created to study the space environment, evaluating if low-priced satellites can improve knowledge of objects in geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the Earth. Beresheet is only expected to survive on the lunar surface for about two or three days.

Previous missions have reached the moon much faster.

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. Up to this point, the moon has been a destination that only wealthy and powerful nations could reach.

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