SpaceX launches satellites, moon mission on Falcon 9

Theresa Obrien
February 24, 2019

This will be the first attempt at a lunar landing by a private company, and it's also the first launch by an Israeli spacecraft.

SpaceIL was established in 2011, aiming to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon.

About 30 minutes after liftoff, the spacecraft will disengage from the SpaceX Falcon 9 at around 60,000 kilometers above Earth's surface, beginning, under its own power, a two-month voyage to the Moon's surface.

According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the booster could fly again as early as April in support of Crew Dragon's in-flight abort mission, although his implication that that test will occur in April directly contradicts a recent NASA schedule update that pegged the test no earlier than (NET) June 2019.

But if it is successful, it will be the first-ever privately funded probe to land on the moon.

Last night at 5:45 pm EST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, FL.

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SpaceIL officials have said they hope Beresheet will help inspire Israel's defense-focused space program to pursue more science-oriented missions. ARSP.B1) and SpaceIL reported that the spacecraft was in an elliptical orbit en-route to the moon, where it will touch down seven weeks from now on April 11.

After the launch, the craft will disengage from the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at around 38,300 miles above Earth's surface, and will then continue on its journey to the Moon.

Under the original terms of the Google Lunar X Prize contest, Beresheet would have been required to fire thrusters and hop to a new location at least 500 meters away from the landing site. So far only superpowers - the Soviet Union, U.S. and China - have made the voyage, with their governments' strong financial backing.

The payload also includes an Indonesian communications satellite called Nusantara Satu and a small experimental satellite belonging to the U.S. Air Force.

But as the competition wore on, it became apparent that none of the companies were going to be able to meet the deadline to land on the moon, and so Google ultimately scrapped the competition in March 2018. Anteby said it will carry equipment to measure the moon's magnetic field, but exposure to the sun will render the equipment unusable after just a few days; the craft ultimately will be abandoned between the remains of Apollos 15 and 17. To achieve this, the USA space agency is changing its model and no longer wants to design the missions itself. The time capsule will remain on the moon, so that the information it carries is destined to remain there for an indefinite period, to be found by future generations.

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