SpaceX to launch Israeli moon lander, pair of satellites

They founded SpaceIL in 2011 and, in 2015, scored a launch contract with SpaceX. Within an hour after liftoff, Beresheet was already sending back data and had successfully deployed its landing legs, according to SpaceIL. The booster landed smoothly on an offshore ocean platform, after the hottest re-entry yet, according to SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk.

It was the third mission for the booster, which first flew in July with 10 Iridium Next communications satellites and again in October with a radar satellite for the Argentine space agency CONAE.

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Falcon 9's first stage for the Nusantara Satu mission previously supported the Iridium-7 mission in July 2018 and the SAOCOM 1A mission in October 2018.

On Feb. 21, the Beresheet robotic lunar lander is set to take off on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Space.com reported. After that, it will take a month to reach an orbit 250 miles from Earth, and then continue to circle farther out until it is captured into a lunar orbit. The spacecraft - called Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis or "In The Beginning" - will take almost two months to reach the moon.

The mission began in earnest in 2009, when founders Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub registered for Google's Lunar X Prize - a moon race to build and land a commercial lunar spacecraft.

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The United States, the former Soviet Union and China are the only three nations to date to have achieved controlled "soft" landings of spacecraft on the lunar surface. 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 lander will use a thruster from Norwegian supplier Nammo to reach the moon, and to conduct a 500-meter "hop" to another location on the lunar surface.

"This is the beginning of Israel's story in deep space. whether this succeeds or fails", SpaceIL president and billionaire high-tech developer Morris Kahn, who invested $US44 million of his own money into the Beresheet project, said. The company, inspired by SpaceIL's lunar ambitions, has developed commercial ambitions of its own regarding the moon.

The 585-kilogram, dishwasher-sized lander was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with $US100 million furnished nearly entirely by private donors.

"Nusantara Satu is Indonesia's first high-throughput satellite that will serve to improve internet connectivity in the region", SpaceX said in a press release.

"Successful deployment of Nusantara Satu to geosynchronous transfer orbit confirmed-completing SpaceX's 70th mission!"

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