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Israel Plans to Land on Moon
12 July 2018, 12:23 | Justin Tyler
The prototype SpaceIL vehicle is unveiled at the President’s Residence
At a press conference at defense contractor Israel Aerospace Industries facilities Tuesday, Israeli nonprofit company SpaceILannounced its intention to send Israel's first unmanned spacecraft into orbit in December, and two months later, land it on the lunar surface.
The entire endeavour began roughly seven years ago when SpaceIL joined a Google technology contest to land a small, unmanned probed on the moon. "SpaceIL's moon mission is officially underway #SpaceIL". At 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds), it will be the smallest spaceship so far to make a lunar landing. The spacecraft will be ready to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a SpaceXFalcon 9 rocket.
SpaceIL was the only Israeli company involved in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which carried a £15million ($20million) victory prize until it was scrapped in March 2018 due to contestants' missed deadlines.
So far, only the US, Russia and China have landed spacecrafts on the moon.
Mr Kahn said he hoped the mission would create an "Apollo effect" for the next generation in Israel - a reference to the enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and maths triggered by Neil Armstrong's Moon walk in 1969.
"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. The prize would have given $30 million to the team that developed a low-priced method of robotic space exploration.
In the coming months, the Israeli spacecraft will undergo intensive checks and tests at IAI to prove that it can withstand the launch, flight and landing conditions, said Anteby.
SpaceIL was the only Israeli contestant in the worldwide Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. It measures about 2 meters in diameter and stands just a meter and a half high.
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.
After succeeding in raising the critical funds to continue its activity, SpaceIL announced that it was determined to continue on its mission and to launch its spacecraft by the end of the year, regardless of the competition.
Ofer Doron, director of Israeli Aerospace Industry Program with the space craft.
For children from any country, SpaceIL introduced its Moon Kids website in English, chock full of fun interactive content about the moon and outer space.
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