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Israel to Launch Historic Private Mission to the Moon

If the SpaceIL mission is successful, Israel will become the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon, after the Soviet Union, United States and China.

Time magazine reports that SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries told a news conference that the landing craft — dubbed “Beresheet,” or Genesis — will take off from Florida, propelled by a SpaceX Falcon rocket on its weekslong voyage to the moon. The launch is scheduled late Thursday in the United States, early Friday (22.1.2019) in Israel. It had been originally slated for last December. SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby and Opher Doron, general manager of the IAI’s space division, said the spacecraft will slingshot around the Earth at least six times in order to reach the moon and land on its surface on April 11.

Israel’s space program chief Avi Blasberger said he hopes SpaceIL will create a “Beresheet effect” in Israel, akin to the Apollo effect, to promote science among a new generation.

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