First private Israel lunar mission to be launched this week

Posted at 4:23 AM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 04:23:36-05

YEHUD, Israel (AP) — An Israeli nonprofit says it'll launch what it hopes will be the first private spacecraft to land on the moon this week.

SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries told reporters on Monday that the landing craft, dubbed Beresheet, or Genesis, will ship from Florida, where, propelled by a SpaceX Falcon rocket launch, it will commence its months-long voyage to the moon.

The launch is due late Thursday in U.S., early Friday in Israel. It had been originally slated for last December.

The small craft, roughly the size of a washing machine, will have to make several orbits before landing.

Israel's space program chief Avi Blasberger says he hopes it will create a "Beresheet effect" in Israel, akin to the Apollo effect, to promote science for a new generation of Israelis.