Science

Israeli company plans lunar landing next year

Israeli company plans lunar landing next year

SpaceX will handle the launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in December.

The plan calls for the lander to execute a series of in-space maneuvers, then touch down on the lunar surface next February to transmit imagery and measure the moon's magnetic field.

The event was also attended by Israeli billionaire philanthropist and SpaceIL president Morris Kahn, who donated some $27 million to the project. 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.

"Our mission was never about winning the prize money - although $20 million would have been nice", said SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby.

SpaceIL is backed mainly by private donors, including USA casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and billionaire Morris Kahn who co-founded Amdocs, one of Israel's biggest high-tech companies.

SpaceIL was formed by three people and participated in Google's Lunar XPRIZE competition, which closed in March without naming a victor.

SpaceIL was founded in 2011 and originally vied for Google's Lunar Xprize, which challenged private companies to try to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon.




Built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the lander, which looks like a large spider, is created to land on the Moon. The other three nations are the United States, Russia, and China.

SpaceIL, an Israeli initiative group for space exploration, announced that as soon as in the end of 2018 the first lunar orbiter will be launched.

An Israeli non-profit affiliated with the local hi-tech and research communities is planning to launch a spacecraft to the moon as an educational endeavor. Once the mission is accomplished, the developer said the spacecraft will remain on the moon as a "symbol of Israeli success".

IAI has been a full partner in the project from its inception. 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. This will take about two days to finish. The victor was expected to earn a prize of 20 million dollars to fund the landing of the first non-governmental unmanned spacecraft on the moon.

Although the Google prize expired in March without a victor having reached the moon, Israel's team pledged to push forward.

But SpaceIL has continued to work on its moon mission.