Israel is about to become the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon. An Israeli nonprofit organization called SpaceIL has designed a dishwasher-size that uses nano technology, "to build a small, smart and a relatively cheap spacecraft." Its launch is scheduled for the end of this year from the Kennedy Space Center in the US state of Florida. The company launching the craft is SpaceX, founded by billionaire Elon Musk.
The scheduled launch is also set to take several satellites into space, but the Israeli spacecraft is the only one continuing to the moon.
Israel's SpaceIL team is competing for Google's Lunar XPRIZE competition.
The competition aims to promote space technology and interest in the private sector. Its prizes total $30 million for privately funded teams that fulfill three requirements: by the end of 2017...
1. ...landing a robotic vehicle on the moon that
2. ...travels 500 meters (1,640 feet); and
3. ...transmits high-definition photos and video back to earth.
HOW ISRAEL'S CRAFT WILL GET THE MOON AND WHAT IT WILL DO. ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
To-date, five teams have obtained launch contracts by the end of 2017. First prize is $20 million.
Crediting advanced innovation and engineering, IsraelIL was the first to reserve a spot for a space launch out of 33 teams that began the competition. Only five teams remain that have reserved spots on space launches.
SpaceIL is leading the pack. All all the other team launches after its vehicle takes off for the moon.
Israel's "ticket to the moon" cost the SpaceIL team over $10 million. Funding has come from public appeals and two large benefactors: Morris Kahn's Kahn Foundation and Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson's Adelson Family Foundation.
After landing on the moon, the spacecraft is expected to take photos and videos and broadcast them back to Earth.
The spacecraft is designed to travel 500 yards across the surface of the moon - by hopping, instead of roving like other spacecraft in the competition.
If all goes as planned, SpaceIL will meet the conditions of Google's XPRIZE competition and win $20 million. It plans to use the prize money to promote science in Israel.
Because of significant editing, Brian Schrauger is included as a co-author of this report. The original article is online at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=39845