According to an announcement made by Israel on Tuesday 10th July, the country would be launching its initial mission to the moon in December 2018. The nation is hopeful to end up becoming the 4th to dock on the lunar surface after the United States, Russia, and China.
The spacecraft is the outcome of 8 years of combined efforts of the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and SpaceIL. The total budget invested in the development of this spacecraft is near about ninety-five million dollars. The spacecraft is around four feet in height, six and a half feet in diameter, and has a maximum velocity of around twenty-two thousand three hundred seventy miles/hour.
Morris Kahn, the president of SpaceIL, said in a statement, “The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, in its 70th year, with pride. It is a national accomplishment that will put us on the world’s space map.”
This project actually started when the young set of engineer, namely- Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari, and Yonatan Winetraub, planned to develop a spacecraft for participating in the Lunar Xprize championship sponsored by Google.
As said by the organizers, the very first task of the spacecraft would be planting the national flag of Israel on the lunar surface. After that, the spacecraft would start the scientific missions. It would capture videos and pictures of the docking site as well as measure the magnetic field of the moon. The study undertaken in collaboration with the researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot would try understanding the process in which lunar rocks obtained their magnetism. This would be done with the help of a magnetometer installed on the probe.
The IAI CEO, Josef Weiss said in a statement, “As one who has personally brought the collaboration with SpaceIL to IAI, I regard the launch of the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon as an example of the amazing capabilities one can reach in civilian-space activity. The State of Israel, which is already firmly planted in the realm of space in its military activity, must harness resources for the benefit of civilian space, which is an engine of innovation, technology, education and groundbreaking around the world.”
The Israel lunar spacecraft would be launched through a SpaceX rocket and most expectantly would reach the surface of the moon by 13th February 2019.