Israeli moon lander launched by SpaceX expected to land in April

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The unmanned robotic lander dubbed Beresheet - Hebrew for the biblical phrase "in the beginning" - soared into space from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at about 8:45 p.m. ET atop the 23-storey-tall rocket.

The Jewish State would join the U.S., Russia, and China as the only countries to land a spacecraft on the moon.

When it arrives, its landing gear must cushion the descent onto the lunar surface to prevent Beresheet from crashing.

But that didn't stop SpaceIL.

But as the competition wore on, it became apparent that none of the companies were going to be able to meet the deadline to land on the moon, and so Google ultimately scrapped the competition in March 2018.

Beresheet is created to spend just two to three days using on-board instruments to photograph its landing site and measure the moon's magnetic field. 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.

SpaceIL's mission for the lander is to beam back photos and video, and to measure the magnetosphere. "The strength of Israel in the world is rising, rising, rising and rising to the moon", Netanyahu said. The lander shared a ride with two other payloads.

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

Spaceflight Industries acts as a broker for satellite operators that need to get into space, finding extra room on rockets already launching. "Make us proud", he said on Thursday. "We have to consider the requirements from the other payloads on the rocket".

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The U.S. Air Force also has a small research spacecraft aboard the rocket, for a one-year mission in orbit around Earth. It will eventually be captured by the moon's gravity where it will enter a lunar orbit.

After making its way to the moon, Beresheet will have to perform a soft landing on the surface, after which it will photograph everything it can and study the surrounding environment.

The US Apollo program tallied six manned missions to the moon - the only ones yet achieved - between 1969 and 1972. They were deployed shortly after, at 44 minutes after launch.

Beresheet is helping to blaze a trail for low-priced private space exploration.

The spacecraft will also plop the Israeli flag on the lunar surface and take some snaps before the mission ends two days later.

"In religion and ethics, science and scholarship, we have long reached for the stars; now we are rightfully reaching the moon".

SpaceIL co-founder Yonatan Weintraub told Fox News in a statement, "After more than eight years of working with brilliant engineers, we are finally ready to launch our spacecraft to the Moon!" SpaceIL officials say that the data collected will help scientists learn more about the creation and evolution of the moon.

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. With SpaceIL's success, we could see more private companies venture beyond Earth orbit.

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