In what has been called a very impressive program by NASA, Israel has successfully launched its lunar lander into space.
With the help of Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, Israel sent its lunar lander into space atop of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The SpaceX rocket successfully completed its third flight into space.
The Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Israeli lander called “Beresheet ” blasted off from Cape Canaveral on February 21.
Beresheet is the name in Hebrew for Genesis, or ‘In the Begining’.
The SpaceX rocket’s payload included, in addition to Beresheet, a communications satellite for Indonesia.
With the successful launch, Israel’s four-legged Beresheet is poised to become the world’s first commercial lunar lander.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine congratulated SpaceIL and the Israel Space Agency on the feat.
“Congratulations to SpaceIL and the Israel Space Agency. This is a historic step for all nations and commercial space as we look to extend our collaborations beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon.”
“In July, I was in Israel and was very impressed with their commitment to expanding their role in the world’s space community.”
“As we better understand Israel’s capabilities and the innovative work of their private industry, we know they’ll be an even stronger international partner in the future, one vital to the success of extending commercial space to the Moon and eventually on to Mars and beyond.”
“There are terrific opportunities awaiting Israel and all of us in advancing the space frontier.”
NASA is expected to work together with the Isreali Space Agency in the near future.
According to reports, the American Space Agency will use its deep-space communications network to transmit images and data from the moon to SpaceIL.
In return, SpaceIL will share with NASA data from the spacecraft’s magnetometer as part of the collaboration.
“This is the type of collaboration that will become more frequent as NASA looks to expand opportunities with a greater variety of partners to continue the exploration of the Moon and Mars,” explained Steve Clarke, NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration.
“NASA is proud to work with the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and SpaceIL and we look forward to the landing and the science data that will be gained from this important mission,” he added.
The Israeli Lunar Lander is expected to orbit around Earth around six weeks, as it picks up speed to begin the journey to the moon.
The spacecraft is expected to enter lunar orbit in early April and attempt a soft landing on the 11th of April.