Isreali startup SpaceIl plans to launch a lunar lander and robotic rover to the moon in December, 2018. It involves a 1,300-pound lander piggybacking on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch whose primary payload is a communications satellite.
An Israeli organization said Tuesday that it hopes to become the first non-governmental entity to land a spacecraft on the moon when it attempts to launch a module later this year. SpaceIL says about $88 million has been invested in the project to date, mostly from private... "As soon as the spacecraft reaches the landing point it will be completely autonomous".
The other countries to have done so are China, Russia and the U.S.
The dimensions of the spacecraft are 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) high and 2 meters (6.5 feet) in diameter.
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South African-Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, president of SpaceIL, who has donated $27 million to the enterprise, was extremely excited: "The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, in its 70th year, with pride".
Israeli billionaire philanthropist and SpaceIL President Morris Kahn, who donated around $27 million to the project, told reporters that its objective is in part to inspire young people in Israel to study science and join the country's space projects. Its maximum speed will reach more than 10 kilometers per second (36,000 kilometers, or almost 22,370 miles, per hour).
The project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered Dollars 30 million (25 million euros) in prizes to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with relatively low-priced moon missions. "When the rocket is launched into space, we will all remember where we were when we landed on the moon".
The spacecraft's design and development process began in 2013, two years after Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub founded SpaceIL and registered for the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. It will then ignite its engines and reduce its speed to allow the moon's gravity to pull it in, and will begin orbiting it.
SpaceIL, an Israeli non-profit, has announced plans to send the first privately funded unmanned spacecraft to the moon. The measurements are intended for research conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science-UCLA.