Israeli Spacecraft Beresheet Completes First Moon-Orbit Maneuver

Israeli Spacecraft Beresheet Completes First Moon-Orbit Maneuver

Israel is the seventh nation in the world to successfully enter the moon's orbit.

Beresheet entered the moon's orbit on Thursday and is scheduled to land on its surface on April 11. In Hebrew, Beresheet means in the beginning or Genesis, launched in the month of February.

"There is a significant chance we have a crash landing", said Opher Doron, the space division general manager at Israel Aerospace Industries. Therein is encouragement for the next generation of Israeli (and non-Israeli alike) children to head for the stars.

Finally, this week it traveled far enough from Earth with an orbit of 400,000 kilometers (250,000 miles) to be captured by the moon's gravity and to be pulled into orbit.

At the point at which this article is first posted, the SpaceIL crew had not yet landed on the moon. During the coming week, SpaceIL and IAI are to conduct a series of intense maneuvers with the spacecraft in preparation for the landing.

If they land on the moon, they'll be the fourth country to make the landing (USA, USSR, China). It is roughly the size of a washing machine, reaching a height of 1.5 meters, about two meters in width, and weighing just 600 kilograms.

It took about nine minutes for eight engines to slowly maneuver the spacecraft in the right direction, and a little less than six minutes for the engines to slow the spacecraft down to the correct speed. SpaceIL was not deterred! Together with four other teams - Moon Express, Synergy Moon, Teamindus, and Hakuto - SpaceIL raced to develop low-priced methods of robotic space exploration.

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