Israel to touch the moon

Israel declared on Tuesday that it will dispatch its first moon mission in somewhere in December 2018, planning to secure a place to be the fourth nation to arrive on the moon, following Russian Federation, the USA, and China.

December space launch is a joint venture between SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. Upon landing, the craft will relay photographs and collect data about the moon's magnetism for research by Israel's Weizmann Institute.

Israel could become the fourth country that sent a spaceship to the moon after USA, Russia and China.

Non-profit organization SpaceIL was established in 2011 to participate in the competition for the prize of the Google Lunar Xprize, which was established in 2007 for the creation and launch of the spacecraft on the moon. SpaceIL President Morris Kahn has donated about $27 million to the effort and made a decision to proceed even after the contest deadline passed and effectively ended without any finalists achieving the goal.

The 1.5 m (over 4.9 ft.) high spacecraft is 2 m (6.5 ft.) in diameter, and the carried fuel will weigh around 75 percent of its total weight, according to the report.

Kahn said: "After eight challenging years, I am filled with pride that the first Israeli spacecraft, which is in its final construction and testing phases, will soon be making its way to the moon".

The maximum speed expected to reach is over 10 km per second (36,000 kilometers, or almost 22,370 miles, per hour), the report adds.

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Its first task however will be to plant an Israeli flag on the moon, organisers said.

According to SpaceIL, once the spacecraft disengages from the launch rocket, it will begin orbiting Earth in continuously larger elliptical orbits. "It's a national accomplishment that will put us on the world's space map".

At this point, it will ignite its engines and reduce its speed to allow the moon's gravity to capture it.

Despite financial pitfalls in recent years that almost saw SpaceIL's spacecraft grounded permanently, the team is confident December's launch will take place on time.

In addition to taking photos on the surface of the moon, the spacecraft will measure its magnetic field at the landing site, using a magnetometer installed on it.

No government has landed a craft on the moon since the 1970s, but interest has revived recently.

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