Israel announced on Tuesday that it is all set to launch its very first lunar mission in December 2018 aspiring to become the fourth country to stand in the list of moon travelers, after the U.S, Russia, and China. The Israel aerospace industries in collaboration with the Space-IL developed the new spacecraft over a period spanning over eight years. According to the reports, more than $95 million has been invested for the development of this spacecraft.
The Israeli spacecraft measures to 4-ft in height and 6 1/2-ft in diameter, and it can reach up to a maximum speed of 22, 370 miles per hour. Mr. Morris Kahn, the South African-Israeli multi-billionaire and the president of Space-IL came forward to donate $27 million for the mission’ accomplishment and when asked about his excitement, he said that the launch of the first spacecraft will fill Israel with happiness as it is in its 70th year with glory and pride. Further, he added that it is a news to celebrate for the entire country as it is a national accomplishment that will list Israel’s name into the group of countries traveling to the moon in the world map.
The mission to create a spacecraft basically started when the young engineers named Kfir Dameri, Yonatan Winetraub, and Yariv Bash came forward to build a spacecraft and participated in the Lunar X-Prize competition organized by Google. The prize money for the first group to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon’s surface was $20 million. Although the competition ended without choosing a winner, there were some companies with a potential to make it to the moon.
According to the reports, the first task of this spacecraft would be to host an Israeli flag on the moon’s surface. Only after that, it would begin the scientific experiments and capture images and videos of the surface when it lands. It will measure the magnetic field of the moon as well.
The research has been conducted in collaboration with the scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot and it will also make use of a magnetometer on the spacecraft in order to understand the science behind how the rocks on the moon’s surface get their magnetic properties. The spacecraft is all set to be launched atop a rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX in December this year and it is expected to land on the lunar surface by 13th of February, 2019.