The XPrize Foundation announced on Thursday that it will award a $ 1 million "Moonshot" prize to Israeli non-profit SpaceIL when its Lander Beresheet successfully lands on the surface of the Moon.
The touchdown of Beresheet should make history April 11 as the first privately financed vehicle that landed on the moon, as well as the first Israeli. Although the United States, Russia and China have reached the moon, their missions have been funded and implemented by government organizations.
"The mission of SpaceIL represents the democratization of space exploration," said Peter Diamandis, founder of XPrize, in announcing the "Moonshot Award" on Thursday.
"We are optimistic that this first domino will be dropped, triggering a chain reaction of increasingly affordable and repeatable commercial missions to the Moon and beyond," added Diamandis.
Beresheet was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on February 21
SpaceIL entered into the $ 20 million Google Lunar XPrize contest, which ended last year with no winners, as none of the teams started their mission before the deadline of March 2018.
SpaceIL decided to continue its search anyway, working with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Israeli Space Agency, and the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology. [1 9659003] South African-born Israeli entrepreneur Morris Kahn, founder of Israeli high-tech Amdocs, was the largest contributor to SpaceIL. Other contributors include the Adelson Family Foundation, the Science and Technology Department, ISA, Weizmann and other individuals.
Landing on the moon is not cheap. SpaceIL said The Verge that the price of the Moon Mission was $ 90 million, of which only $ 2 million was granted by the Israeli government.