At a historic press conference Tuesday, at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)'s MBT Space facility in Yehud, Israel, nonprofit SpaceIL and IAI announced a lunar mission to launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., this December, and land on the moon on February 13, 2019.
Ofer Doron, head of IAI's space division, said Israel was "going to show the way for the rest of the world" to send a spacecraft to the Moon at a reasonable cost.
If successful, Israel will be the fourth country to boast the prestige of touching down on the moon after the US, Soviet Russia, and China.
The dimensions of the spacecraft are 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) high and 2 meters (6.5 feet) in diameter.
South African-Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, president of SpaceIL, who has donated $27 million to the enterprise, was extremely excited: "The launch of the first Israeli spacecraft will fill Israel, in its 70th year, with pride".More news: Nevada to execute inmate with fentanyl in U.S
The SpaceIL organization participated in the competition for the Google Lunar XC Prize.
Since SpaceIL's establishment, the mission of landing an Israeli spacecraft on the moon has become a national project embodying educational values, funded by donors such as Dr. Miriam and Mr. Sheldon Adelson, Mr. Sammy Sagol, Mrs. Lynn Schusterman, Mr. Steven Grand and others.
SpaceIL President Morris Kahn has donated about $27 million to the effort and made a decision to proceed even after the contest deadline passed and effectively ended without any finalists achieving the goal.
Mr Kahn said he hoped the mission would create an "Apollo effect" for the next generation in Israel - a reference to the enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and maths triggered by Neil Armstrong's Moon walk in 1969. December 2018- Launch, February 13, 2019- First Israeli spacecraft lands on the moon!More news: Pence Responds to Democrat Criticisms: 'Kavanaugh Will Not Legislate from the Bench'
Approximately $88 million was invested in the spacecraft's development and construction. The spacecraft will orbit the Moon for nearly two months before landing, where it will record and send video and conduct some small science observations using a magnetometer.
"We will put the Israeli flag on the moon" said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL. Because it always faces away from the Earth, it is impossible without this system in place to get signals back from the far side of the moon.
After landing, the craft will take photos and videos of the landing site and record the moon's magnetic field.
For children from any country, SpaceIL introduced its Moon Kids website in English, chock full of fun interactive content about the moon and outer space.More news: Leahy: Trump's Supreme Court Pick 'More Than Frightening'
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