A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, last night with the so-called Beresheet lunar lander, Israel’s first lunar mission. If successful, Israel would become the fourth nation to touch down on the Moon, after the United States, Russia (USSR, to be more specific), and China.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched at 8:45 pm EST (01:45 am GMT on Friday), carrying Beresheet, plus other two sets of cargo – a telecommunication satellite for Indonesia and an experimental satellite designed and operated by the US Air Force.
Approximately 34 minutes after launch, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket expelled Israel’s first lunar mission, the Beresheet lunar lander, a device no bigger than a dish-washing machine. While a regular journey to the Moon would not take more than 3-4 days, Beresheet will reach our natural satellite in mid-April after completing a set of orbits around the Earth. Israel’s lunar lander will progressively widen its route around the Earth until Moon’s gravitational pull attracts the probe.
Beresheet, Israel’s First Lunar Mission, Launched Towards The Moon
If everything goes as planned, Beresheet will become Israel’s first lunar mission and the first ever conducted by a private space company, SpaceIL. Besides, if Beresheet is successful, Israel will be the fourth nation to touchdown on the Moon, after the United States, the ex-Soviet Union, and China.
So far, the US has been the only country in the world to fly humans to the Moon during the Apollo program, between 1969 and 1972. The Russians sent lots of robotic lunar missions, while China made history in January as it became the first country to land a rover, Chang’e-4 on the far side of the Moon.
Once on the Moon, Beresheet, Israel’s first lunar mission, would only spend a few days using its instruments to take images of the Moon and measure the Moon’s magnetic field. Then, SpaceIL would shut down the lander, leaving it there, on the Moon, as evidence of the most recent hardware that touches down there.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.