SpaceIL Chairman, Morris Kahn: “Today I am proud to be an Israeli.”
The last time we in on world’s first private mission to the moon, Israel’s Bereseet lunar mission had successfully launched and was well on its way to its destination.
Today the spacecraft entered into orbit around the Moon, ahead of next week’s landing on the Earth’s natural satellite.
At around 10:18 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, the spacecraft fired its engines for six minutes, slowing down enough to be captured by the moon’s gravity. Although the maneuver appeared to have been executed without problems, it’ll be half a day before confirmation that the spacecraft has entered its intended orbit.
That by itself would be a major achievement, something that has only been accomplished by five nations — the United States, the former Soviet Union, China, Japan and India — and the European Space Agency.
SpaceIL, the firm sending the mission, now prepares for April 11th’s landing.
The lander fired its main engine for six minutes starting at 10:18 a.m. Eastern time, slowing the spacecraft down by about 1,000 kilometers per hour, enough for it to be captured into orbit around the moon. SpaceIL said in a statement that that maneuver went as expected, putting the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit with a perilune of 500 kilometers and apolune of 10,000 kilometers.
“After six weeks in space, we have succeeded in overcoming another critical stage by entering the moon’s gravity,” said Ido Anteby, chief executive of SpaceIL, in a statement. “We still have a long way until the lunar landing, but I’m convinced our team will complete the mission to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, making us all proud.”
The designated landing spot is Mare Serenitatis, or Sea of Serenity, in the northern hemisphere of the near side of the moon.
The firm’s executive officers are thrilled with the progress of the mission so far.
SpaceIL Chairman, Morris Kahn: “The lunar capture is an historic event in and of itself – but it also joins Israel in a seven-nation club that has entered the moon’s orbit. A week from today we’ll make more history by landing on the moon, joining three super powers who have done so. Today I am proud to be an Israeli.”
SpaceIL CEO, Ido Anteby: “After six weeks in space, we have succeeded in overcoming another critical stage by entering the moon’s gravity. This is another significant achievement our engineering team achieved while demonstrating determination and creativity in finding solutions to unexpected challenges. We still have a long way until the lunar landing, but I‘m convinced our team will complete the mission to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, making us all proud.”
Here is a video for those interested in today’s maneuvering into lunar orbit:DONATE
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