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April 8-14, 2019 / Vol 38, No 14 / Hawai`i Island, USA

5 Apr 2019, 20:18 UTC
April 8-14, 2019 / Vol 38, No 14 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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First Independent Moon Landing By SpaceIL, IAI Could Open NewSpace Enterprise Frontier

SpaceIL Beresheet “Genesis” lander will attempt soft-landing at Mare Serenitatis, on the Moon near side ~28.0°N, 17.5°E April 11, after successfully entering lunar orbit April 4. Former Google Lunar X Prize contestant SpaceIL and Israeli Aerospace Industries may become first private-sector partners to touchdown on the Moon, and could receive US$1M ‘Moonshot Award’ from X Prize Foundation chaired by Peter Diamandis. The mission, with an estimated cost of $100M, will aim to land the 2-meter diameter, 1.5-meter tall, 150-kg dry mass, 4-legged lander. Beresheet will make powered descent to within 5 meters of surface, then cut engines to make a gentle free-fall landing. The lander carries scientific experiments including a magnetometer developed by Israel Weizmann Institute of Science to measure local magnetic field, and a laser retroreflector array contributed by NASA GSFC to aid navigation and enable precise measurements of Earth–Moon distance. Beresheet is expected to operate for 2-3 days on the surface before overheating, but the laser retroreflector can be used indefinitely. Promising NewSpace / lunar enterprises, many formerly GLXP contestants, planning Moon missions are PTScientists launching perhaps in Q1 2020; Moon Express lander 2020-21; Astrobotic Peregrine ...

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