Image Credit: YouTube / SpaceX
Israel is set to join China, Russia and the US as the fourth nation to achieve a controlled lunar landing.
At around the size of a washing machine and weighing in at 585kg, the robotic lander, which is called Beresheet (the Hebrew word for Genesis), launched atop a SpaceX rocket from Florida this week.
“We thought it’s about time for a change, and we want to get little Israel all the way to the moon,” said Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of non-profit organization SpaceIL.
“We’ll keep analyzing the data, but bottom line is we entered the very exclusive group of countries that have launched a spacecraft to the moon.”
The project, which cost around $90 million, was privately funded by a number of backers including South African-born Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and philanthropist Miriam Adelson.
The launch was met with messages of support from several famous faces including Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin who referred to the moon as his “old stomping ground.”
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine also hailed the launch as “a historic step for all nations and commercial space as we look to extend our collaborations.”
If all goes well, Beresheet should touch down on the lunar surface on April 11th.
Source: The Guardian