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Beresheet heads for historic lunar landing

11 Apr 2019, 16:57 UTC
Beresheet heads for historic lunar landing
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The world’s first privately-funded and operated lunar lander, an entrant in the defunct Google Lunar X-Prize competition, is about to attempt a landing on the lunar surface. The Beresheet lander (“in the beginning” in Hebrew, so named after an Israel-wide naming competition) was designed and built by SpaceIL from 2011 onwards for the Lunar X-Prize competition, and the project continued when the Lunar X-Prize was ended in 2018 without a winner, or even without an entry flying into space.

SpaceIL was founded in 2011 by three Israeli engineers (Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari, and Yonatan Winetraub) who wanted to enter the Google Lunar X-Prize competition which at the time was teeming with competitor teams trying to win the $30 million prize. Besides trying to win the X-Prize, the SpaceIL effort was also intended to inspire Israelis and others to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to create an “Apollo effect” in the country.
The Google Lunar X-Prize, announced in 2007, required a safe landing on the Moon by the end of 2014, sending high definition images and video, and traveling 500 meters (1640 feet) on the lunar surface, and the first lander to succeed would win the first prize of ...

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