Israel expected to again make history after becoming 7th country to complete Lunar Capture; SpaceIL: Our mission proves to the world that the same achievement is possible with a low budget and that space research is accessible to everyone…

Israel’s Beresheet (meaning Genesis) spacecraft completed a successful “Lunar Capture” maneuver around the Moon ahead of its scheduled landing this Thursday. Israel is the 7th country to successfully enter the moon’s orbit after completing a Lunar Capture, a challenging maneuver that essentially allows the spacecraft to be captured by lunar gravity.

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) confirmed on Monday morning, “The SpaceIL engineering team and IAI successfully carried out another maneuver around the moon. During the maneuver, the engines operated for about 36 seconds and the amount of fuel burned was about 6 kilograms. During its maneuver, the height of the Apollona (point furthermost from the Moon) was lowered from 750 kilometers to 200 km from the Moon and became the Perilone (closest point to the moon). The spacecraft is now in an elliptical orbit at an altitude of 211 km to 467 km from the moon.”

Beresheet is Israel’s first spacecraft to the moon. If a success, Israel will be the fourth nation to land on the moon following the United States, China and Russia. The spacecraft is being used for scientific research and data gathering, mainly on the moon’s magnetic field using a magnetometer, by Israel and NASA. Both have installed a retro-reflector, a laser beam that will locate the aircraft once it lands. The spacecraft will film itself and broadcast images to Earth as part of its research in coordination with NASA and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Unlike all other missions to the moon, Israel’s mission is privately funded, mostly by donations. According to SpaceIL, the mission is not only one of pride for the State of Israel, but also will “prove to the world that the same achievement is possible with a low budget and that space research is accessible to everyone” while making Israel a “leading growth engine in the economy.”

Overall, Beresheet’s mission will have covered 1 million miles at a maximum speed of 10 kilometers per second. The spacecraft includes a time capsule with digital files about the mission and Israel that includes a Hebrew Bible, Israeli songs and poetry, Holocaust survivors’ accounts, art, an Israeli flag and more. The spacecraft has been programmed to take a photo of the Israeli flag on the moon once it lands.

Photo: taffpixture/