Israeli Beresheet spacecraft 'making history' in moon landing TONIGHT

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 11, 2019

The spacecraft's engines were activated for 32 seconds and 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of fuel were consumed.

If it is a success, Space IL will make Israel the fourth country, after Russian Federation, the United States, and China, to land a spacecraft on the Moon.

An illustration of the Beresheet spacecraft orbiting the moon.

Beresheet began as a dream by three young engineers - Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yehonatan Weintraub - and not a government program, making it the first privately funded space probe to shoot for the moon. Things got off to a bit of a rough start, with the spacecraft experiencing a unusual computer glitch that prevented it from completing traveling all the way to lunar orbit on schedule, but it quickly got back on track and is about to perform a Moon landing that we will all get to enjoy.

The spacecraft has traveled 5.5 million km (over 3.4 million miles) in its orbits and another one million while orbiting the moon. But should everything go according to plan, the spacecraft will begin to reduce its altitude and when it reaches an altitude of 5 km, it will begin measuring the moon's precise surface in preparation for its landing.

The Beresheet lander was built by IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) and is operated from a mission control facility in Yehud, Israel, southeast of Tel Aviv.

It part-funded by Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and the Israel Space Agency. While Beresheet is operating its magnetometer will measure traces of the ancient lunar magnetic field, which was once as strong as Earth's billions of years ago, and measure magnetic anomalies known to be in the Mare Serenitatis area. After landing, it will take a selfie.

"We met - three engineers in the bar - and over a couple of beers we took out papers and we and started designing the space craft".

The launch of the Beresheet spacecraft aboard a SpaceX rocket on February 22, 2019.

The $100 million mission, the first spacecraft from a smaller, non-superpower country set to land on the lunar surface, as well as the first private lunar landing mission, will communicate with six ground stations on Earth, and will be supported by the Deep Space Network, as all missions beyond Earth have communications going through a facility at JPL. It was built by Israeli non-profit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor, Israel Aerospace Industries, with $100 million U.S. furnished nearly entirely by private donors.

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