Beresheet Performed Final Maneuver Before Moon Landing

Mindy Sparks
Апреля 11, 2019

But that could be about to change, as a washing-machine-sized, privately funded Israeli spacecraft approaches the moon.

The spacecraft is expected to touch down on Thursday at 10:25 pm Israel time (3:25 pm EST).

Marked as "not final", Beresheet's touchdown is expected at Ben Gurion's Terminal 3, according to the site.

To date, three countries have landed on the moon.

"Last week we made history by making Israel the seventh country to orbit the moon", he added.

In late 2017 SpaceIL requested $30 million to finish the lander, and several donors came through, which ensured that the spacecraft could eventually fly, even as Google withdrew its sponsorship of the Lunar X-Prize in early 2018, stating no team could make the final deadline of March 31, 2018. The spacecraft's engines were activated for 32 seconds and 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of fuel were consumed.

The Beresheet space probe aims to touch down tomorrow, two months after launch, with a landing planned for Thursday, near the moon's Sea of Serenity.

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"It was very hard to raise money for this mission because it was really a mission impossible", said South African-Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn, the president of SpaceIL, ahead of the launch in February. While Beresheet is operating its magnetometer will measure traces of the ancient lunar magnetic field, which was once as strong as Earth's billions of years ago, and measure magnetic anomalies known to be in the Mare Serenitatis area.

Beresheet is the smallest spacecraft ever to be sent to the moon.

Recalling Space IL's origins, in a Munich bar with co-founders Yariv Bash and Yonatan Winetraub, Damari said: "It was in the end of 2010 we saw the Lunar X challenge and I told them: 'If you are serious I'm in'".

"We met - three engineers in the bar - and over a couple of beers we took out papers and we and started designing the space craft". The SpaceIL crew chose to continue with the mission - with or without the prize money - and kept dimensions of their lunar lander to a minimum and with as low redundancy as possible.

The launch of the Beresheet spacecraft aboard a SpaceX rocket on February 22, 2019.

A multi-disciplinary team of some 250 engineers, scientists, and computer scientists from the non-profit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) designed, engineered and developed Beresheet.

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