An artist’s impression of the Beresheet spacecraft on the moon’s surface.
Israel will launch its historic mission to land on the Moon when the unmanned Beresheet spacecraft that departs from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Thursday.
Beresheet, which is the Hebrew word for ‘beginning’, was developed by the Israeli non-profit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. The launch is scheduled for 8:45 pm ET and the lander is expected that the lunar surface on April 11.
“After more than eight years of working with brilliant engineers, we are finally ready to launch our spacecraft to the Moon!,” said SpaceIL co-founder Yonatan Weintraub, in a statement by e-mail to Fox News.
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About 30 minutes after take-off from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 40, the spacecraft will separate from the rocket of SpaceX around 38,300 miles above the earth’s surface, according to SpaceIL. Under her own power, Beresheet will begin his epic journey to the Moon.
A view of Beresheet carry out its scientific mission to measure the Moon’s magnetic field.
After reaching the lunar surface, the spacecraft will Israel to a select group of nations. Only three countries – the U.S., the Soviet Union and China – have a successful ‘soft landing’ on the Moon. An Indian impact probe was intentionally crashed into the lunar surface in 2008. The following year, the japanese Kaguya spacecraft was directed to crash into the Moon.
Beresheet also will be the first private mission to reach Earth’s natural satellite.
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The spacecraft was born out of the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition to land an unmanned probe on the moon. The $30 million contest to be demolished with no winner of last year after the organizers said that none of the five finalists would make of the on March 31, 2018 deadline for a Moon launch, Space.com reported.
The Beresheet spaceship, in a temperature-controlled container was loaded into a cargo plane at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport and then flown to Florida.
(Photo credit: Eliran Avital)
Nevertheless, the Israeli team printed on the development of the 397-pound spacecraft and Thursday at the launch is generating a lot of interest.
“As the #SpaceIL mission is successful, Thursday, Israel will be the fourth country to land a plane on the moon. Good luck, Beresheet!,” tweeted Buzz Aldrin Tuesday.
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After the two-month journey, the probe will land within Mare Serenitatis in the Moon’s northern hemisphere. SpaceIL notes that the site has magnetic anomalies, which Beresheet the magnetometer device to take measurements as part of a scientific experiment. The data from the magnetometer, which was developed by Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, will be shared with NASA.
(From left), IAI Space Division General Manager Opher Doron; SpaceIL President Morris Kahn; and SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby.
(Photo credit: Tomer Levi)
In addition to his scientific mission, Beresheet will also be a time capsule to the Moon. Consisting of three disk drives, the time capsule data includes symbols such as the Israeli flag and the national anthem, “Hatikvah.” Dictionaries for 27 languages are also included in the discs, together with the Bible and a book inspired by the mission. A specially designed disk contains the Moon Library, is the brainchild of the non-profit Arch Mission of the Foundation and is described as “a 30-million-page archive of the civilization.”
Beresheet and the time capsule will remain on the lunar surface for an indefinite period of time.
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The Moon is also high for a number of countries’ space programs. China, for example, recently became the first country to successfully land a probe on the far side of the Moon as the Chang’e 4 lander reached the moon’s surface on Jan. 2.
The US has also set his sights on the heavenly satellite. President Donald Trump wants the AMERICAN astronauts to return to the Moon as a base for future missions to Mars and the administration has cited Moon missions as an important element of the 2019 NASA budget. As part of the recent bill for the funding of the government through the end of fiscal 2019, NASA is getting $21.5 billion, an increase compared to the 2018 budget of the application.
In a speech last year, Vice-President Mike Pence discussed plans for a Moon-Orbital Platform-Gateway, a NASA space station that is in the vicinity of the Moon. The chairman of the Rural Area of the Council described the purpose of putting an American on board the Lunar Orbital Platform before the end of 2024. “We are on the cusp of a new golden age of exploration,” Pence said.
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NASA released a draft Request for Proposals last year that call on the U.S. commercial space industry to contribute to the delivery of cargo to the Moon. Unmanned contract missions to the moon’s surface are expected to begin as early as 2019, it said. The government space agency has a goal to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.
The last time a man set foot on the Moon during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. Only 12 men, all Americans, have set foot on the Moon.
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July 20, 2019, to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing and moon missions continue to be a source of fascination.
A checklist that traveled to the surface of the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin recently sold at auction in New York for $62,500. In the same auction, three small Moon rocks brought back from space by the unmanned Soviet Luna-16 mission were sold for $855,000.
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Dec. 21, 2018 also marked the 50th anniversary of the momentous Apollo 8 launch. During a series of historical lunar orbits, NASA astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders became the first humans to see the far side of the Moon.
Fox News’ Madeleine Rivera and The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers