Israeli moon lander launched by SpaceX expected to land in April

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off with Israel's Lunar Lander and an Indonesian communications satellite at space launch complex 40 Thursday Feb. 21 2019 in Cape Canaveral Fla. An Israeli spacecraft blasted off to the moon in an attempt to make

SpaceX is rocketing the first private mission to the moon tonight - an Israeli lunar lander. Here's how to watch the launch live.

Previously, only the U.S., U.S.S.R, and China have landed spacecraft on the moon.

Previous missions have reached the moon much faster.

But that didn't stop SpaceIL. You could say that the lander is taking the scenic route by employing that method, but SpaceIL isn't in a hurry.

"Its mission is to transmit photos and video of its new home and conduct scientific measurements", SpaceX said of Beresheet.

It will use that time to measure the moon's magnetic field as it approaches for landing, which could shed light on the moon's core that's believed to be made of iron.

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"We'll keep analyzing the data, but bottom line is we entered the very exclusive group of countries that have launched a spacecraft to the moon", said Yigal Harel, head of SpaceIL's spacecraft program.

On Friday, NASA is expected to decide whether to give its final go-ahead to SpaceX for a first, unmanned test flight on March 2 of a new capsule created to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. "Make us proud", he said Thursday. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. The lunar lander was deployed just after 33 minutes into the flight, and the other payloads, an Air Force Research experiment and Nusantara Satu, Indonesia's first high-throughput communications satellite, were released after 44 minutes.

It will circle Earth in ever bigger loops until it's captured by lunar gravity and goes into orbit around the moon.

Watch history in the making as Israel's Beresheet spacecraft launches upon its historic mission to the moon.

But before it can land, Beresheet must make it to the moon, and its six-week jaunt around the Earth may seem like an odd approach. He said it was thrilling to witness the launch in person and to know Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was watching it live from the control center in Yehud, Israel. They were deployed shortly after, at 44 minutes after launch.

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First Beresheet will orbit the Earth for not quite two months. However, the low price tag comes with some drawbacks.

"All the best to @TeamSpaceIL as it starts its journey tonight on a @SpaceX #Falcon9 from Florida to my old stomping ground ...the moon", Aldrin tweeted. It will then decrease its orbit until it finally lands on the northern lunar hemisphere sometime in April.

SpaceIL had planned to meet the 500-meter movement requirement by partially launching and relanding Beresheet. This will be the first attempt at a lunar landing by a private company, and it's also the first launch by an Israeli spacecraft. The problem with that is, it doesn't allow us to choose the orbit completely.

From there, the spacecraft will execute a series of manoeuvres to reach its destination between the landing sites of Apollo 15 and 17 by mid-April.

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