The first probe of israel’s destination to the Moon, and the first developed by a private organization, SpaceIL, started Thursday its journey to the Moon, where it should arrive in seven weeks to try to make Israel the fourth country to complete a lunar landing.
A rocket Falcon 9 to the space company american SpaceX ran without incident from Cape Canaveral in Florida to 20.45 (01H45 GMT Friday), a shot followed live from Israel, in the middle of the night, by many engineers and support of the mission, and Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who waved israeli flags from the control center of the aerospace corporation Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), a partner in the project.
And then, half an hour later, more than 750 kilometers above Africa and at a speed of 35,000 km/h, the second stage of the rocket has deployed the probe, called Bereishit (Genesis in Hebrew). It will do several elliptical orbits around the Earth, which will be used for momentum, with the help of his engine, to take in a second time the direction of the Moon, where the landing is planned for 11 April.
The rocket was carrying also a satellite of indonesia, and a satellite of the u.s. air force.
“This is a great step for Israel, and it is a big step for the israeli technology”, has packed Mr. Netanyahu, diverting the glorious words of Neil Armstrong, first man on the Moon.
“The real fuel of this machine, are the audacity and the genius israelis”, he said, and despite the size of Israel, “we are giants”.
The initiative is private, the scope since 2010 by SpaceIL, a non-profit organization. But the project is an object of national pride in Israel, where it is reaffirmed that only three nations have so far managed to land, the United States, Russia and China (only Americans have walked on the Moon).
Initially, the project was to respond to the competition Google Lunar XPrize, which wanted to reward 30 million to the first private aircraft to land before march 2018. No one had come in time, but the team of SpaceIL has pursued the mission and bought a second place in the rocket of SpaceX.
Initially set at $ 10 million, the mission eventually cost 100, but “it is the device less expensive to attempt such a mission,” insisted the group IIA.
This is especially the businessman and philanthropist Morris Kahn, who has funded the development of the robot. “Make us proud”, he launched on Thursday evening at the address of the probe, shortly before the shooting.
The landing in itself is the main mission, even if a scientific instrument is taken to measure the magnetic field lunar. Bereishit is designed to last a few days.
A capsule in the robot contains digital discs with children’s drawings, songs, and images of symbols israelis, the memories of a survivor of the Holocaust, and the Bible.
Partners non-israelis participated. SpaceIL will communicate with the sensor using antennas of the Swedish Space Corporation. Nasa has made available its Deep Space Network to send back to Earth data of Bereishit. The us space agency has also installed a retro-reflector laser on the robot in order to test the potential of the laser for spatial navigation.
– India wants to follow –
The renewed interest for the Moon, sometimes called the “eighth continent” of the Earth, is world, the year 2019 is particularly busy.
China, which had filed his robot “jade Rabbit” in 2013, sent in January on her face to hide her alunisseur Chang’e-4, and she plans to other missions.
India hopes to become the spring of the fifth-largest moon with its mission Chandrayaan-2, which will include a alunisseur and a mobile robot.
Japan intends sending to 2020-2021 a small lander lunar, called SLIM, for the study of a volcanic area.
As for the Americans, the return to the Moon is now the official policy of Nasa, according to the directives of the president Donald Trump in 2017.
To achieve this, the u.s. space agency exchange of model and does not want to design the missions itself. It has launched calls for tenders to the space sector in private, in full bloom in the United States. She would like to send alunisseurs at the end of the year, but more likely in 2020.
Nasa has also launched the project of a station in lunar orbit, expected to be completed in 2026, to be used to return astronauts on the moon in 2028. The return on the Moon is seen as the preparation for sending humans to Mars in the next decade at the earliest.