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Israel sent up its first lunar lander with yesterday's SpaceX launch

By Cal Jeffrey · 7 replies
Feb 22, 2019
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  1. If the mission is successful, Israel will be the fourth nation to touch down on the natural satellite joining the US, Russia, and China. What sets it apart from the others is that the mission is not state funded. It will be the first private landing on the moon.

    The lander, named “Beresheet” was built by a non-profit called SpaceIL and was a finalist in Google’s $20 million Lunar Xprize competition. Unfortunately, Google pulled the plug on the contest in January before a winner could be decided due to the finalists running out of money to continue.

    Despite the financial troubles that prevented it from making the Xprize deadline, SpaceIL found more funding and is continuing the mission without the promise of a $20 million prize. The contest requirements were that the vehicle would have to travel at least 500 meters on the lunar surface and be capable of transmitting HD videos and pictures back home. SpaceIL is continuing with at least some of these mission objectives, but it’s going to be a long process.

    First Beresheet will orbit the Earth for not quite two months. It will eventually be captured by the moon’s gravity where it will enter a lunar orbit. The trajectory will degrade until a landing on the moon’s northern hemisphere can be made. The touch down should take place sometime in late April. This method of getting to the lunar surface is slow, but it is also the most fuel efficient.

    During the descent, it will measure the moon’s magnetosphere. Once on the surface, it will set up retroreflectors which NASA can bounce lasers off to get a highly accurate measurement of the distance to the moon. Beresheet will only be able to run for about three days max once it lands.

    Despite the mission being privately funded, NASA is helping with the use of its deep-space communications network to retrieve data and images. SpaceIL was also aided in the planning of the landing by pouring over NASA images to find a suitable spot to set down.

    SpaceIL had planned to meet the 500-meter movement requirement by partially launching and relanding Beresheet. However, now that prize money is off the table engineers are considering just leaving it stationary.

    “A million things can go wrong,” SpaceIL co-founder Yonatan Winetraub told the New York Times. “It might tip over and explode.”

    The team will make the final decision on whether or not to move the lander after its initial landing is successful.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,390   +3,779

    The Mosad has a reputation to keep up with their claims that they have "eyes everywhere" .......
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,546   +1,537

    So the name means "in the beginning" in Hebrew... does this mean they plan more?
  4. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,458   +1,034

    Is it just me, or is this harder to read than it should be? (missing some grammar?)
  5. netman

    netman TS Addict Posts: 322   +101

    While up there, why not grab some Chinese and Russian moon lands for future settlements!
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,969   +4,004

    Because they're waiting for the Palestinians to make a moon landing?
  7. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,833   +678

    Imagine what Israel might contribute to the world if people would leave them alone
    Squid Surprise likes this.
  8. lazer

    lazer TS Addict Posts: 237   +57

    Wow! this must have taken quite a bit of math planning to do all this!

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