Israel Poised to Join Cosmic Powers with Lunar Landing

Katie Ramirez
April 11, 2019

Besides trying to win the X-Prize, the SpaceIL effort was also meant to inspire Israelis and others to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to create an "Apollo effect" in the country.

It's aiming for a landing site a few hundred miles east of the Apollo 15 landing site, and the landing will be live-streamed by SpaceIL, the Israeli nonprofit behind the mission.

Israel's first moon lander came up just short in its historic touchdown bid this afternoon (April 11). SpaceIL's launch contract with SpaceX and Spaceflight Industries was finalized and the mission was slotted to fly along with the Indonesian Nusantara Satu and USAF AFRL S5 satellites on a Falcon 9 Block 5.

"Well, we didn't make it but we definitely tried", Morris Kahn, an entrepreneur who helped found the Beresheet mission, said shortly after the spacecraft's failed landing attempt.

Shaped like a round table with four carbon-fibre legs, Beresheet stands about 1.5-metres tall.

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Bosa didn't shy away from controversial opinions on Twitter during his time with the Buckeyes. The event is will take place in Nashville, Tenn., with the first round set for April 25.

SpaceIL is a private company that built and operates the spacecraft alongside the Israeli Aerospace Agency.

"On the flight announcement board in Ben Gurion Airport #Israel, a rather special flight has appeared", the Zionist Federation tweeted, "The flight of the #Israeli spacecraft to the moon, landing on the moon tonight!"

China's Chang'e-4 made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon on January 3, after a probe sent by Beijing made a lunar landing elsewhere in 2013. Among the documents in this digital time capsule are a complete archive of Wikipedia, drawings of space from Israeli children, and the memoirs of a Holocaust survivor. It blasted off from Cape Canaveral in the USA on February 21 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and entered Earth's orbit about 34 minutes after launch.

The spacecraft is expected to touch down on Thursday at 10:25 pm Israel time (3:25 pm EST). It was originally created to "hop" short distances across the lunar surface to fulfill the XPRIZE requirements.

NASA engineers think they should be able to track the lander's location within about 4 inches of where it actually ends up on the moon using the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter that will be taking measurements of the lander as it reaches its destination. This will help scientists understand the Moon's geologic history better. The GLXP offered $20 million to the first privately funded team to put a robot down softly on the moon, move it at least 1,650 feet (500 meters) on the lunar surface and have it send high-resolution imagery home to Earth. After the mission concludes, IAI is looking at the possibility of offering the lander design for commercial lunar missions.

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