First Israeli spacecraft to land on moon next year

Mindy Sparks
July 11, 2018

The unmanned mission is a joint effort between private company Israel Aerospace Industries and nonprofit organization SpaceIL.

The spacecraft will plant an Israeli flag on the Moon's surface and carry out research into its magnetic field.

SpaceIL and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries plan to launch their unmanned craft in December hoping to become the first non-governmental entity to land a spacecraft on the moon.

On Tuesday, the team announced its goal of a February 13, 2019, moon landing, but it has yet to set a specific launch date in December. In May, China launched a relay satellite that will orbit the moon and allow it to receive signals from a planned probe that will land on the far side of the moon.

This Israeli spacecraft is expected to land on the moon in early 2019.

So far it has spent about $88.5m, much of which it has received from the South African-born Israeli billionaire businessmen Morris Kahn.


The Israeli spacecraft, about the size of a dishwasher, measure about 6.6 feet in diameter and about 1.65 feet in height.

SpaceIL's project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered $30m (£23m) in prizes to inspire people to develop low-priced methods of robotic space exploration.

The spacecraft is a "hopper", which will land and then take off again with the fuel left in its propulsion system, and then perform another landing 500m away, as required by the XPrize. Other countries also have groups in the competition, including the United States, Japan and India.

The aim of the mission is not only to put an Israeli spacecraft on the moon, but to inspire a future generation of Israelis to pursue careers in math, science and engineering, said Joseph Weiss, IAI's president and chief executive.

The project began when young engineers - Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub - made a decision to build a spacecraft and take part in the Lunar Xprize competition sponsored by Google, which originally included a $20 million prize for the first group of contestants to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. Kahn said it would be "a tremendous achievement". "When the rocket is launched into space, we will all remember where we were when Israel landed on the moon".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER