Today, an Israeli nonprofit will attempt to land a small robotic spacecraft on the surface of the Moon. If successful, it’ll be the first lunar landing for Israel, and the first time a vehicle funded by private money has touched down on the Moon’s surface.
The lander en route to the Moon this afternoon is named Beresheet, and it was developed by an Israeli organization called SpaceIL, a former team in the Google Lunar X Prize competition. Beresheet launched on top of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on February 21st and was deployed into a wide orbit around Earth. The lander periodically burned its main engine in space, stretching its orbit out farther and father to reach the Moon. Last week, the lander burned its engine again near the lunar…
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