Israel’s First Moon Mission Faces Delay

Posted: Oct 12 2018, 5:28am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Israel’s First Moon Mission Faces Delay
An illustration of the SpaceIL spacecraft on the moon.

A nonprofit organization from Israel announced a delay in the mission's launch from December to early 2019.

The launch of Israel’s first mission to moon has been pushed back to next year. The mission was originally planned to launch December this year and expected to land on moon February 13, 2019. Its first task was to plant Israeli flag and later collect scientific data.

On Wednesday, Israeli nonprofit organization SpaceIL announced a delay in the launch of a spacecraft that should be carried by a rocket from American entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX firm. SpaceIL said that the delay was SpaceX’s decision, but they did not give precise dates for the postponed launch and landing.

Israel's ambitious moon project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which in 2010 offered a first prize of $30 million to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to launch relatively low-cost missions to the moon and accelerate space exploration efforts. SpaceIL was the only Israeli team participating in the competition.

Although the competition ended in March 2018 without a winner, the Israeli team decided to continue working on the project. They envisioned a very small spacecraft they believed could land on the moon via SpaceX Falcon 9. If successful, that would make Israel only the fourth country after the United States, Russia and China to reach moon.

“After eight challenging years, 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. The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, in its 70th year, with pride." South African-Israeli billionaire and president of the SpaceIL, Morris Kahn, said in an earlier statement.

The SpaceIL lunar spacecraft that will be launched next year is just two meters wide and weighs around 1,300 pounds. It will travel 13 times faster than the max speed of an F-15 fighter jet and cover some 9 million kilometers over the course of its two-month journey. The mission will primarily study moon's magnetic field and transmit data to the control center at the Israel Aerospace Industries for two days before ceasing operation.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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