For the first time this week, a privately-developed Moon Lander will launch aboard a privately-built rocket, organized by a private launch coordinator. It's a historic moment in space, and the Israeli mission will make history again by landing on the lunar surface on April 11, as planned.
The Beresheet program ("Genesis") was originally intended as an entry into the ambitious goal Ultimately unsuccessful Google Lunar Xprize in 2010, which challenged the people to a moon landing, with prices of $ 30 million as an incentive , The prize ended last year without winners, but since these Xprize contests have the goal, he has already sparked much interest and investment in a private lunar mission.
SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries worked together on the mission that will bring cameras. a magnetometer and a capsule filled with objects of the land to hopefully rest on the lunar surface.
The launch schedule from now on (these things are changing with weather, technical delays, etc.) is on Thursday at 20.45 (Cape Canaveral) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for takeoff at Cape Canaveral. Shortly before, a livestream should be available, which I will add later or in a new post.
30 minutes after takeoff, the payload releases and contacts the mission control. Then the distance to the moon begins, during which time he will orbit the earth six times.
Russia, China and of course the US are the only ones ever to land successfully on the moon; China's Chang # 4 e-lander was the first to use soft land (as opposed to impact) as the "dark" (although actually distant – often light) side and is currently operational.
But there was a successful private man lunar mission (the Manfred Memorial Probe) no one but a large country has ever landed. If Beresheet is a success, it would be both the first Israeli lunar mission and the first private mission to do so. It would also be the first moon landing to be carried out with a privately-built rocket, and the lightest spaceship on the moon, and the cheapest with some $ 100 million in costs.
Landing on the Moon is of course terribly difficult. Just as a geosynchronous orbit is far more difficult than a low earth orbit, orbiting is even more difficult for a moons launch, a stable orbit even more difficult, and a controlled landing on a target even more difficult. The only thing that would be more difficult would be to fly off and return to Earth, as did Apollo 11 in 1969 and other missions several times. Amazing, if you think about it.
Seattle's flight coordinated the launch, and technically Beresheet is the secondary payload. The primary is the S5 experimental satellite of the Air Force Research Labs, which will bring the host vehicle into geosynchronous orbit after detaching the lunar module.
Although Beresheet is likely to be the first, it's likely to be the first of many: other competitors in the Lunar Xprize, as well as companies funded or partnering with NASA and other space agencies, will soon make their own attempts to make some headway To make regolith.