The first Israeli lunar spacecraft Beresheet - Genesis in English - will be launched from the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 3:45 a.m. (Israel time) Friday.
An Israeli spacecraft rocketed toward the moon for the country's first attempted lunar landing, following a launch Thursday night by SpaceX. Touchdown would be April 11 at the Sea of Serenity.
First Beresheet will orbit the Earth for not quite two months.
Also piggybacking on the flight will be a US Air Force experiment called Air Force Research Laboratory S5 - a microsatellite that's created to detect objects that orbit Earth near a region called geostationary orbit (which is about 22,300 miles away from the planet's surface).
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The group just won't win $20 million even if its lander accomplishes Google's original requirements, which include being able to drive up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) on the lunar surface and to transmit HD videos and images back to Earth.
Beresheet, about the size of a dishwashing machine, was one of three sets of cargo carried aloft by the Falcon 9, part of the private rocket fleet of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's California-based company SpaceX.
The rocket will launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The first soft landing on the moon came in 1966; executed by both the both Russian Federation and the United States; there was not another unmanned soft landing until China launched Chang'e 3 in 2013.
Beresheet was one of three payloads to be carried aloft by the SpaceX rocket.
It will eventually be captured by the moon's gravity where it will enter a lunar orbit.
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SpaceIL co-founder Yonatan Weintraub told Fox News in a statement, "After more than eight years of working with brilliant engineers, we are finally ready to launch our spacecraft to the Moon!"
Japan plans to send a small lunar lander, called SLIM, to study a volcanic area around 2020-2021.
Once it lands on the moon, the spacecraft carrying the Israeli flag will begin taking photographs of the landing site and a selfie to prove that it has indeed landed on the moon. They were deployed shortly after, at 44 minutes after launch.
"Congratulations to SpaceIL and the Israel Space Agency". The prize expired a year ago without a victor, but SpaceIL (and several other former teams) kept working on their missions. Once it lands, the probe will conduct various experiments on the Moon's surface, testing its magnetism and geology.
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