The Israeli lunar spacecraft weighs only 1,322 pounds, or 600 kilograms.
Credit: Eliran Avital

The nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced today that a robotic lunar landing mission is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida this December.

If all goes as planned, the craft would attempt a touchdown on the Moon on February 13, 2019.

A final launch date will be announced closer to the event, according to a press statement.

Secondary payload

Following eight years of collaboration between SpaceIL and IAI, the lunar landing would make Israel the fourth country after Russia, the United States and China to reach the Moon.

Lunar lander is 1.5 meters, or over 4.9 feet high, 2 meters or 6 and a half feet in diameter, and the fuel it will carry will comprise some 75 percent of its total weight.
Credit: SpaceIL

The spacecraft will be launched as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and its journey to the Moon will take roughly two months.

The Israeli lunar spacecraft will be the smallest to land on the Moon, weighing only 1,322 pounds, or 600 kilograms.

The journey

Following launch, the moonbound craft will begin orbiting Earth in elliptical orbits. Upon receipt of a command from the control room, the spacecraft will enter a higher altitude elliptical orbit around Earth, which will reach a point near the Moon.

At this point, the lander will ignite its engines to enter a phase of orbiting the Moon prior to attempting a lunar landing. This process will be executed autonomously by the spacecraft’s navigation control system.

The entire journey, from launch to landing, will last approximately two months.

The nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced today that a robotic lunar landing mission is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida this December.
Credit: SpaceIL

Continuing the mission

SpaceIL was the only Israeli contestant in the international Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. That competition ended officially with no winner on March 31, with Google announcing that it would no longer sponsor the competition.

SpaceIL is continuing with its mission to the Moon despite the contest’s expiration without a winner.

Approximately $88 million has been invested in the spacecraft’s development and construction, mostly from private donors.

For more information, visit:

http://www.spaceil.com

One Response to “Israel Shoots for the Moon: December Launch Announced”

  • Sheila Bass says:

    I just retired from NASA, I am so excited to hear that Israel is heading to the moon.
    Lots of luck in this huge endevour.

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