SpaceX Launch World's First Commercial Lunar Lander

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The Beresheet lander is a three-way partnership between Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL - one of many members within the Google Lunar X Prize, which challenged corporations to land spacecraft on the moon - and Israel Aerospace Industries, the nation's largest aerospace and protection firm.

The lender, referred to as "Beresheet" (to start with), will launch at eight:45 p.m. EST (0145 GMT, Feb. 22) from Cape Canaveral Air Power Station in Florida.

The 1,290-pound (585 kg), dishwasher-sized lander was built by Israeli nonprofit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with $100 million (roughly Rs. 710 crores) furnished nearly entirely by private donors.

If successful, the mission will make Israel the world's fourth country to land on the moon, after Russian Federation, the United States and China.

SpaceIL said they hoped Beresheet will help inspire Israel's defence-focused space program to pursue more science missions by way of an "Apollo effect", referring to the manned lunar exploration program that became NASA's chief objective in the 1960s and early '70s.

After it touches down, the lander will carry out scientific research, measuring the magnetic field of the moon in order to help scientist understand how it formed.

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The exciting project could be a landmark achievement for Israel's voyage into space, and Sputnik has compiled all you need to know about the forthcoming lunar mission. That makes for a much longer trip; the moon right now is almost 230,000 miles (370,000km) away.

SpaceIL does not plan to continue after this mission.

"This is Uber-style space exploration, so we're riding shotgun on the rocket", Winetraub explained at a news conference on the eve of launch.

The Falcon 9 was on its third flight having launched the Iridium-7 mission in July 2018 and the SAOCOM 1A mission the following October. The lander will also carry a time capsule, which contains a "Lunar Library".

Ramon's widow, Rona, was a big supporter of Beresheet; she died of cancer in December. The two others are a telecommunications satellite for Indonesia and an experimental satellite for the U.S. Air Force. The booster used in today's launch had been recovered twice before making it the second ever to be recovered three times.

Israel's first moon mission blasted off from Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Friday. The booster landed smoothly on an offshore ocean platform, after the hottest re-entry yet, according to SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk.

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