The launch of Bereshit to the Moon is scheduled for February 2019
– News of January 22, 2019 –
SpaceIL is an Israeli non-profit organization that has competed in the Google Lunar X Prize. SpaceIL wants to send a spaceship to the moon next month. Their spacecraft, named Bereshit, has just been sent to Cape Canaveral to be integrated under the fairing of a Falcon 9. Although the launch is scheduled for February, the travel will be long since Bereshit is expected to land on the Moon in April. This will be the first Israeli lunar mission and the first time Falcon 9 will launch a payload to another body in the solar system.
Once on the Moon, the lander should follow a program similar to the one set for the Google Lunar X Prize, that is to say it will try to make a bounce with its propellers and that it will transmit photos and videos in high definition. Without thermal control systems, Bereshit will probably not survive for more than a few days.
Bereshit will carry two scientific payloads : a magnetometer developed by an Israeli university and a retro-reflective device designed by NASA. Although the mission is supported by the Israeli Space Agency, it is interesting to see that it is a nonprofit organization that rushes to the Moon first. Moon Express should quickly follow in 2020.
Images by SpaceIL / Oshratsl [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia CommonsSources