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Beresheet ("Genesis"), Israel's first Israeli lunar probe, completed the first maneuver on the moon after disengaging itself from its carrier and completing its planned earth orbit.
The ultimate goal of the planned maneuvers is to steer the ship into the orbit of the Moon when it intersects with Earth.
After two months, the Moon is expected to land on the Moon on the 11th of April at the Mare Tranquillitatis Plain, better known as the Sea of Tranquility.
Scientists and technical staff at the Israeli aerospace industry headquarters have been briefed on the high sensitivity of the spacecraft's sunrays in the Star tracker, but are confident that this problem can be resolved on their way to the moon.
The Maneuver on the Moon on Sunday takes into account the problems detected by the Star Tracker systems and the scientists decided to advance with the mission.
Beresheet switched on his engine for the first time with the launch of the mission control and successfully made his first maneuver towards the moon on only 69,400 km. (43,000 miles) from the Earth's surface. The spacecraft during this maneuver will sometime be 600 km away. from Earth's surface as it prepares for its next scheduled maneuver on Monday night.
Israel mooned late Thursday night when the lunar probe from Cape Canaveral, Florida, launched a mission that, if successful, would place the Jewish state in an exclusive club of nations that landed on the lunar surface ,
On a successful landing on the moon, Israel becomes the fourth country to land on the lunar surface after the former Soviet Union, the United States, and China. It will be the first such space capsule to land on the Moon as a result of a private initiative rather than a government-funded venture.
The project was led by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries and was in development for several years.
"Eight years ago, we embarked on a journey that is nearing completion, and I could not be proud to give this gift to the people of Israel," said SpaceIL President and his biggest donor, Morris Kahn. Further donations came from dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, the Science and Technology Department, the ISA, the Weizmann Institute and various private individuals.
The spacecraft is the smallest such spacecraft (about 1300 pounds) and measures only 1.5 feet by 2 meters. It only cost $ 100 million – far less than other larger and more expensive moon probes.
"For many months, our teams and IAIs were busy testing the spacecraft and its systems, performing complex experiments, and preparing for any possible scenario," said IdO Antebi, CEO of SpaceIL.
The spacecraft will cover the longest distance to the moon – about 6.5 million kilometers. (about four million miles) before it lands. Beresheet is rolled through space up to a speed of 10 km. per second (36,000 km / h).
Earlier this week, President Reuven Rivlin pointed out that this is not only a national and historical achievement, but also inspires young Israelis to study STEM-related topics (science, technology, and mathematics) and pursue their dreams of space travel.
In addition, the ship contains a "time capsule" of hundreds of files that have been digitized on a floppy disk and contains drawings of Israeli children, the Bible, the national anthem, prayers, Israeli songs and a map of Israel
Beresheet is expected stationed on the moon for generations.
Yafit Ovadia contributed to this report.
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