Israel sent to the moon unmanned spacecraft SpaceX rocket

Screen capture from video of a press conference displaying the SpaceIL moon craft

Screen capture from video of a press conference displaying the SpaceIL moon craft

The project culminated in the design of an Israeli lunar probe, which SpaceIL claimed would launch regardless of the contest's outcome.

To date, the Us remains the only country to have successfully conducted manned missions to the moon, with the last departing the lunar surface in December 1972.

The spacecraft's design and development process, which involved intensive work of engineers, scientists and team members, began in 2013 and continued until a year ago, when its construction at the IAI MABAT Plant commenced.

Israeli billionaire and investor Morris Kahn (left) answers journalists' questions in front of a Israeli Aerospace Industries spacecraft during a news conference Tuesday to announce its launch to the moon, in Yehud, Eastern Tel Aviv.

About it reports Reuters with a reference to the Executive Director SpaceIL IDO Anteby.

The project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered $30 million (25 million euros) in prizes to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with relatively low-priced moon missions. Its maximum speed will reach more than 10 kilometers per second (36,000 kilometers, or almost 22,370 miles, per hour).

It will be launched via a rocket from Elon Musk's SpaceX firm this December, and it's expected to land on the moon on February 13, 2019.

At 60,000 kilometers (37,000 miles) above Earth the spacecraft will deploy.

Two Israeli companies want to make their home nation only the fourth to ever reach the moon.

"Meet our spacecraft: small, smart and with a lot of Israeli", twitted SpaceIL in a second update. "It is a national accomplishment that will put us on the world's space map". At this point, it will ignite its engines and reduce its speed to allow the moon's gravity to capture it. This process will be executed autonomously by the spacecraft's navigation control system. "We will all remember where we were when Israel landed on the moon", he said. It will orbit Earth in expanding ellipses and, about two months later, cross into the moon's orbit.

Upon its landing, the spacecraft plans to take photos and video of the landing site while also measuring the moon's magnetic field as part of a Weizmann Institute scientific experiment. This will take about two days to finish.

Despite the SpaceIL initiative is well in framework of Google Lunar XC Prize the SpaceIL will not get the prize as the cash retribution as it has been cancelled by the originator in March 2018 with no winners.

The program has always had STEM education as a secondary goal, aiming to encourage Israeli children to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Nevertheless, after raising enough funds, SpaceIL determined to continue its mission.

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