The Israeli SpaceIL spacecraft will launch to the moon after years of planning and development. The spacecraft will launch on February 22nd at 3:45 a.m., Israel time.
During the launch, the spacecraft will reach 36,000 km per hour and make a 6.5 million km route, with the entire journey expected to take about seven weeks to land on the moon.
The spacecraft faces 5 main challenges on its way to the moon: First, the launch stage itself is high-risk. Second, maintaining communication and keeping its location in check during the moon voyage is a challenge, with NASA providing assistance on this. Third, the spacecraft will have to manage the extreme conditions existing in space. Fourth, the spacecraft must be at the right place at the right time, with the precise speed in order for the moon’s gravity to capture it when it moves from orbiting the Earth to the moon’s orbit, disengaging from the earth’s gravity. Finally, making the ‘so-called’ soft landing on the moon is not an easy task, and the SpaceIL team has done simulations preparing for a landing on the boulders or on craters on the moon.
The mission will be a technological earthquake, as this is the first time that a private body, not a state, will launch a spacecraft. This is expected to make Israel the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon, and join the exclusive club of the three great powers that have done so in the past: The United States, China and Russia, who invested large sums of money to land on the moon. SpaceIL will accomplish this mission with just 10 percent of the amount spent in the past by these major countries, with an investment of $ 100 million, and with a limited workforce of only 250 employees.
SpaceIL is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by three young visionary engineers: Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yehonatan Weintraub, with their mission being to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. The organization takes pride in its cooperation with NASA, which has the spacecraft fitted with a laser device developed by NASA to help locate the exact position of the probe on the ground after landing. NASA will also allow SpaceIL to receive communications with the spacecraft via NASA’s antenna array. NASA will benefit from this partnership agreement, as it will gain access to the data provided by the spacecraft.
This will be a tremendous accomplishment that will affect the entire world and Israeli society. The launch of the Beresheet spacecraft will be an exceptional achievement for Israel and reflect its capabilities in the fields of technology.
“When I was walking with Buzz Aldrin who was the second person to land on the moon, people came to him and said, ‘Buzz, I remember where I was when you landed on the moon,'” Morris Kahn, businessman and SpaceIL Chairman, during this week’s press conference.
“I believe that when Israel reaches the moon, every Jew, not just Israelis, will remember where they were when Israel landed on the moon. ”
The State of Israel, which has announced the project as a national project, should leverage this in order to inspire young people, from the age of 4. This opens up a wide range of opportunities for Israel, the first and most important revolves around education for the future generation in the fields of science, engineering and technology.
Since the establishment of SpaceIL, its representatives have met over one million students throughout the country. While these meetings are essential and critical, the success of the mission will encourage and inspire the future generation to invest and deepen its education.
As Morris Kahn said, no Israeli will forget where he or she was when the spacecraft landed on the moon.
This is especially important as, according to Bank of Israel figures, there is a shortage of about 15,000 engineers in Israel, which endangers Israel’s future as a start-up nation and may lead to the loss of our relative advantage over other countries in the near future.
Another significant opportunity lies in the progress of science and research. The success of this mission will encourage Israel to invest in similar projects and to support other scientific projects that increase Israel’s image in the world.
A third and vital opportunity lies in the business aspect, where the mission’s success will be a symbol of the country’s success in this field and others, especially in technology. This will create a new economic horizon for Israel and the world. During the last visit to Israel by the head of NASA, he proudly proclaimed that the Israeli spacecraft is a prototype of future unmanned spacecrafts, which will help promote global commercial activity in the lunar environment and create new business opportunities outside the Earth. This is especially important now, as many countries, including the United States, have placed their lunar missions on hold.
Now, even companies around the world are already talking about commercial flights to space.
Elon Musk, whose company SpaceX will launch the Israeli spacecraft for SpaceIL, has been talking for a long time about establishing colonies on Mars.
As part of Israeli pride, the spacecraft carries with it a “time capsule” that includes a huge database containing details about the project and the team, as well as a Bible, an Israeli flag and dozens of national works and symbols and materials collected from the public over the years.
The start-up nation is heading towards the future, and I wish huge success to the mission and to the SpaceIL team.
I hope that Israel will know how to leverage this mission in order to promote innovation and technology in Israel and around the world.
I plan to watch the launch along with various members of the Israeli start-up community and friends at the LABS complex, on the highest floor in Israel, the 60th floor of the Sarona Azrieli Tower in Tel Aviv. You are invited to join us.