History in the Making: Israel's Beresheet Spacecraft Launches Tonight on Moon Mission

Spacecraft from several countries, including India's Moon Impact Probe, Japan's SELENE orbiter and a European Space Agency orbital probe called SMART 1, have intentionally crashed on the lunar surface.

The US Air Force also has a small research spacecraft aboard the rocket, for a one-year mission in orbit around Earth.

If it is successful, it will join an exclusive club of countries, including the United States, Russia, and China in pulling off the landing.

A company representative declined to comment on SpaceIL's mission ahead of launch, but noted that the "webcast will have more to say on the mission".

SpaceIL officials have said they hope Beresheet will help inspire Israel's defense-focused space program to pursue more science-oriented missions.

USA satellite manufacturer Space Systems Loral, a Maxar company, purchased the Falcon 9 launch on behalf of its customer Pasifik Satelit Nusantara, or PSN.

SpaceX launched its first private moon landing mission on Thursday evening. Following a successful separation after launch, SpaceX plans to land the Falcon 9 rocket booster on its drone ship, "Of Course I Still Love You", which is stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

More news: Here’s why Priyanka Chopra did not attend BFF Meghan Markle’s baby shower…

An artist's depiction of the Beresheet lander on the moon's surface. Weighing 1,322 pounds (600 kg), it's also the first spacecraft from an Israeli entity and the first privately-funded spacecraft to reach the lunar surface. NASA has a laser reflector aboard Beresheet and is offering its Deep Space Network for communication. "Tiny, tiny Israel is about to become the fourth nation to land on the moon, and this is a remarkable thing because we continue to demonstrate our ability to punch far above our weight and to show off our skills, our innovation [and] our creativity in tackling any hard problem that could possibly exist".

An hour after launch, Beresheet's engineers reported that the spacecraft had deployed its landing legs as expected, and was sending back its first signs of life, indicating a safe entry into space. Two minutes after it separates from the rocket, Beresheet will communicate for the first time with the mission's control center in Yehud, Israel. A time capsule is aboard the lander - which includes a picture of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died aboard space shuttle Columbia in 2003 - as well as a lunar library containing 30 million pages on a disk from the US -based Arch Mission Foundation.

SpaceX plans to recover the first-stage booster, which flew twice past year, with a touchdown on an ocean platform.

Once ejected from its vehicle, the spacecraft robot will then use its British-built engine to propel itself to the moon.

Read our full coverage of SpaceIL's unprecedented mission to land on the moon.

The 5-foot-tall Beresheet lander will be tucked into the rocket with Nusantara Satu.

Related Articles

  • Jussie Smollett Indicted, Could Face 3 Years In Prison

    Jussie Smollett Indicted, Could Face 3 Years In Prison

    Mr Smollett's lawyers said they would "conduct a thorough investigation and mount an aggressive defence" against the allegations. Steve Greenberg, a Chicago defense attorney, however, said that he does not believe Smollett will serve jail time.
    ‘Extinct’ Galapagos Tortoise Found After More Than 100 Years

    ‘Extinct’ Galapagos Tortoise Found After More Than 100 Years

    Scientists tried to save George's species by breeding him with females from a related species , but their eggs failed to hatch. The sighting came in the youngest island in the Galapagos island of Fernandina, which is known for its volcanic activity.
    Monkees star Peter Tork dies aged 77

    Monkees star Peter Tork dies aged 77

    Tork also recorded several solo albums, including "Step By Step" in 2013 and " Relax Your Mind ", which released a year ago . A post on behalf of his friends, family and colleagues was posted on his official Facebook page to announce the tragic news.
  • Labour MP Ian Austin quits party

    Labour MP Ian Austin quits party

    Soubry later told a news conference that the Conservative Party had been taken over by right-wing, pro-Brexit lawmakers. Others have been criticising the group for not holding by-elections to win back their seats as independent MPs.
    NYT report demonstrates Donald Trump's

    NYT report demonstrates Donald Trump's "corrupt intent"

    According to the analysis, Trump defends Russian Federation and its President Vladimir Putin the most. McCabe said, "There is no doubt that I felt that that was the right call at that time ".
    Tesla Model 3 stripped of Consumer Reports recommendations

    Tesla Model 3 stripped of Consumer Reports recommendations

    The magazine dropped its recommendation for the Chrysler 300, citing problems with the sedan's electronics and transmission. While Consumer Reports initially predicted the Model 3 would have average reliability, it's turned out to be below average.
  • Owner Robert Kraft being charged in Florida prostitution bust

    Owner Robert Kraft being charged in Florida prostitution bust

    Earlier this week, the TCPalm published a story about Orchids of Asia in which a neighbor said the operation was "like a movie." . Irsay had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated after being arrested following a traffic stop.
    Singer R Kelly 'charged with sexual offences'

    Singer R Kelly 'charged with sexual offences'

    Kelly has been charged with ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Friday morning (February 22), according to TMZ . At least two of the alleged victims were girls, while the gender of the other two was not clear from the court documents.
    Pakistanis released from Saudi prison on PM Imran’s request

    Pakistanis released from Saudi prison on PM Imran’s request

    Before the attack, the agenda for the crown prince's visit had been dominated by oil and other key investment decisions. Both sides also "called up on all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy".
  • Jussie Smollett fake story is not fake news

    Jussie Smollett fake story is not fake news

    January 31: Smollett's family released a statement remarking upon how prevalent targeted hate crimes are across the country. The announcement Friday comes after Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report .
    Chelsea banned from making signings for two transfer windows

    Chelsea banned from making signings for two transfer windows

    Deepungsu works 6 days a week, plays football on weekends, but thinks about the attractive game every minute of the day. The ban means that Chelsea would not be able to sign new players until the summer of 2020.
    Redskins Awarded Four Compensatory Picks In 2019 Draft

    Redskins Awarded Four Compensatory Picks In 2019 Draft

    The Bengals also accrued a sixth round pick in a 2017 trade that sent cornerback Bene Benwikere to the Dallas Cowboys . The Cardinals have the first overall selection in the April 25-27 draft in Nashville, Tennessee.