Israeli Moon Probe to Attempt Historic Lunar Landing Today! Watch Live

James Marshall
April 11, 2019

If it is a success, Space IL will make Israel the fourth country, after Russian Federation, the United States, and China, to land a spacecraft on the Moon.

Having completed the maneuver, Beresheet will continue to orbit the moon in an elliptical orbit every two hours.

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Live coverage of the landing was scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday and it was expected to be available on the SpaceIL YouTube channel for anyone to watch.

An illustration of the Beresheet spacecraft orbiting the moon.

Israel has already made history with its spacecraft.

A screenshot from Instagram showing posts with the "Israel to the moon" hashtag.

An official Ben Gurion International Airport app listed the moon as a destination on Thursday. The first of a number of rocket engine firings was accomplished three days after liftoff and the team overcame issues involving a star tracker as well as an unexpected computer reset (likely due to cosmic radiation) to get the lander into lunar orbit on April 4th.

In an explainer video, SpaceIL and IAI said its preparations for the historic moon landing included locating a level plain with a diameter of 30 km free of rocks and craters. Now, Beresheet has been in the moon's orbit for ten days.

In late 2017 SpaceIL requested $30 million to finish the lander, and several donors came through, which ensured that the spacecraft could eventually fly, even as Google withdrew its sponsorship of the Lunar X-Prize in early 2018, stating no team could make the final deadline of March 31, 2018.

The Beresheet lander was built by IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) and is operated from a mission control facility in Yehud, Israel, southeast of Tel Aviv.

It's main scientific contribution will be measuring the moon's magnetic field.

On board, there's also a time capsule and a nano-Bible microscopically etched on a small metal disc the size of a coin.

Nearly everything about the unmanned spacecraft goes against convention and shows Israeli ingenuity at its finest. It cost just $100 million to plan and develop, whereas other space missions in the past have run in the billions of dollars.

It part-funded by Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and the Israel Space Agency.

"We met - three engineers in the bar - and over a couple of beers we took out papers and we and started designing the space craft".

Excitement is building in Israel as its first-ever spacecraft, Genesis, is set to land on the moon today at 10:00 p.m. - 11 p.m. Israel time (3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. EDT).

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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