Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts-off with three payloads

23 February, 2019, 05:53 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • SpaceX launches moon lander lands booster despite tough conditions

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on Thursday at 8.45 pm local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It seeks to become only the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after Russian Federation, the USA and China.

The Jewish State would join the U.S., Russia, and China as the only countries to land a spacecraft on the moon.

The Nusantara Satu was successfully deployed to its geosynchronous transfer orbit after the launch Thursday and was expected to begin working shortly. Beresheet, the Hebrew word for "in the beginning", was designed by the nonprofit SpaceIL, a team of engineers who began the project for the Google Lunar X Prize competition, which challenged participants to build, launch and land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. Eastern, deploying the Beresheet lunar lander 33 minutes later, and the Nusantara Satu telecom satellite with the S5 experimental smallsat almost 45 minutes after liftoff.

SpaceIL has no plans for future explorations of its own beyond Beresheet and "will not continue after this mission", Harel said.

The lander, named "Beresheet" was built by a non-profit called SpaceIL and was a finalist in Google's $20 million Lunar Xprize competition.

After the successful launch of the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet into space, the team in the control room was looking into a small problem with its star navigation system on Friday.

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SpaceIL's spacecraft set to land on the moon in April is about 5 feet tall with a diameter of 6.5 feet. "Its mission is to transmit photos and video of its new home and conduct scientific measurements", said SpaceX.

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.

You can watch the live launch here.

Once deployed, the spacecraft will enter a gradually widening Earth orbit that will eventually bring the probe within the moon's gravitational pull, setting the stage for a series of additional maneuvers leading to an automated touchdown. The entire mission cost about $100 million-quite cheap for a lunar mission.

Beresheet will travel approximately 4 million miles on its journey, circling the earth multiple times to gain speed before it slingshots toward the moon. Temperatures on the moon are extreme, with the daytime heat reaching about 100 degrees Celsius and the nighttime chills dipping to minus 173 degrees, and the budget lander isn't equipped to deal with the sweltering heat of a lunar day. It is also the first private rather than government effort with funds coming from private donors including Morris Kahn and Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Up to this point, the moon has been a destination that only wealthy and powerful nations could reach.

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