Israeli unmanned spacecraft to land on Moon in 2019

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SpaceIL explained: "While the other Google Lunar X Prize teams developed large rovers to move the required 500 meters on the Moon's surface, in order to conserve mass, SpaceIL developed the idea of a space hop: to have the spacecraft land and then take off again with the fuel left in its propulsion system, and then perform another landing 500 meters away". But the SpaceIL team hopes that putting an Israeli-made module on the moon could help maintain Israel's technological momentum for years to come.

"Our mission was never about winning the prize money - although $20 million would have been nice", said SpaceIL CEO Ido Anteby.

The lunar landing would make Israel the fourth country - after Russian Federation, the United States and China - to put a craft on the surface of the moon.

On July 10, SpaceIL gave the press its first look inside the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) MABAT Space facility in Yehud near Israel's airport, where the nonprofit organization has been collaborating with IAI for eight years to build the 1,322-pound (600-kilogram) spacecraft.

Back in 2013, SpaceIL began developing its spaceship, cooperating with Israel Aeronautics Industries.

This Israeli spacecraft is expected to land on the moon in early 2019.

Israel will launch its first lunar mission in December.

The overall cost of the project is estimated to be around $95 million.

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In the coming months, the Israeli spacecraft will undergo intensive checks and tests at IAI to prove that it can withstand the launch, flight and landing conditions, said Anteby.

The entire journey, from launch to landing, will last approximately two months. It is 1.5 meters, or over 4.9 feet high, 2 meters or 6 and a half feet in diameter, and the fuel it will carry will comprise some 75 percent of its total weight.

After landing, the craft will take photos and videos of the landing site and record the moon's magnetic field.

SpaceIL aims to set in motion an "Apollo effect" in Israel: to encourage the next generation of Israeli children to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); to change their perception of these subjects; to generate a sense of capability; and to allow them to dream big dreams even in our small country.

After succeeding in raising the critical funds to continue its activity, SpaceIL announced that it was determined to continue on its mission and to launch its spacecraft by the end of the year, regardless of the competition.

But SpaceIL has continued to work on its moon mission.

Along with Kahn, the Israeli Space Agency and US megadonor casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson are funding SpaceIL.

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