The payload was launch on one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets and the first stage of the rocket was previously used to launch the Iridium-7 mission in July of a year ago and the SAOCOM 1A mission in October. 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. Once the spacecraft lands, which is expected happen sometime in April, the mission will only last a few days as the electronics are not created to handle the rising surface temperatures from the sun, according to the Times.
The 585-kilogram, dishwasher-sized lander was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with $US100 million furnished nearly entirely by private donors. NASA has scheduled a mission overview and flight readiness review briefing for Friday, February 22, at about 6 pm.
Piggybacking on the launch was the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) S5 experimental small spacecraft, which will carry out a one-year mission tracking objects in geostationary orbit, and SpaceIL's lunar spacecraft, Beresheet.
President Reuven Rivlin said, "Congratulations to the State of Israel". After all, the Apollo missions flew directly to the moon, landing less than a week after launch. The $100 million Beresheet mission couldn't afford its own rocket - even a little one - so the organizers opted for a ride share.
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Beresheet would mark the first non-government lunar landing. "The whole world is watching because it's clear to everyone that it opens a new horizon in commercial launches to the moon".
JewishPress.com readers are invited to watch LIVE ONLINE as the robotic lunar lander lifts off atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Eastern, deploying the Beresheet lunar lander 33 minutes later, and the Nusantara Satu telecom satellite with the S5 experimental smallsat almost 45 minutes after liftoff. Once landed, Beresheet's mission will be to transmit photo and videos of the surface, as well as to conduct scientific measurements. More recently, China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft reached lunar orbit a few days after launch. Data will be relayed via the United States space agency NASA's Deep Space Network to SpaceIL's Israel-based ground station Yehud.
Lunar surface operations are meant to last just two days.
Following liftoff, SpaceX recovered the first-stage booster, which flew twice previous year. It's the third time that booster has been launched and recovered, with its next launch planned for April.