The SpaceIL organization announced Tuesday that it will be sending a small, unmanned spacecraft to the moon in December, with an expected landing date of February 13, 2019. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.
"I am filled with pride that the first Israeli spacecraft, which is in its final construction and testing phases, will soon be making its way to the moon", said Morris Kahn, SpaceIL president and a founder of Israeli communications and media technology developer Amdocs Ltd.
Ido Anteby, CEO of the company, told a press conference in the Israeli city of Yehud that the probe would be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in December this year.
Challenges must still be overcome, including compensating for the craft's smaller fuel capacity, Inbar said.
"This is national history", said IAI director Yossi Weiss.
"It's going to show the way for the rest of the world" to send a spacecraft to the moon at a reasonable cost, said IAI's Ofer Doron.
The research, conducted in cooperation with scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, will use a magnetometer on the spacecraft to attempt to understand how the rocks on the moon received their magnetism.
It is measured to be four-feet high, and 6 ½-feet in diameter, and it will be able to reach a maximum speed of 22,370 miles per hour.
First landing on the Moon was performed by USSR back to the 1959.
SpaceIL participated in the Google Lunar XPrize competition, which wrapped up earlier this year with no ultimate victor. This process will be executed autonomously by the spacecraft's navigation control system.
The probe weighs approximately 600kg on Earth but that weight will drop down to 180kg in the Moon's lower gravity pull. However, the competition ended with no victor at the end of March, but the competition for the $30 million in cash prize continues, even without the cash. This will take about two days to finish.
If successful, it will be the smallest probe to ever land on the moon, Anteby said, while also being the first privately funded unmanned spacecraft to achieve this goal.
Nevertheless, after raising enough funds, SpaceIL determined to continue its mission. The non-profit aims to change the discourse in Israel and to encourage boys and girls to regard science, engineering, technology and math as exciting opportunities for their future. In recent years, SpaceIL has ignited the imagination of about 900,000 children nationwide, with the help of a broad network of volunteers.