In the history of spaceflight, three nations have successfully landed a spacecraft on the surface of the moon. Israel hopes to be the fourth, as SpaceIL prepares their robotic lander to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceIL noted late on Wednesday that the mission has been delayed – albeit by only a couple of weeks – to the beginning of 2019 with a moon landing around eight weeks after launch.
The mission began with a Facebook post by Israeli entrepreneur Yariv Bash, who simply asked “Who wants to go to the moon?” Bash, co-founder and CEO of commercial drone developer Flytrex, was joined by friends Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub to compete for the Google Lunar XPrize.
The goal was to land on the moon, travel 500 meters across the surface, and transmit high definition images and video back to Earth. For SpaceIL, this mission was not just about competing for the $20 Million USD prize, but about inspiring a young Israeli generation to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), recreating what they call an “Apollo effect.”
SpaceIL is a nonprofit organization who planned to use any potential prize money to promote science education in Israel. The ...