SpaceIL's Moon Orbit Creates a New Era for Space

Apr 10 2019

Until April 4th, 2019, the Moon had only been the realm of governments, having being orbited by spacecraft from six different governments. But upon reaching lunar orbit, SpaceIL’s Beresheet Moon lander added two significant milestones: the first Israeli spacecraft to circle the Moon; and the first-ever privately-funded spacecraft to orbit around the Moon.

After launching on the Falcon 9 rocket of commercial space company SpaceX on February 22nd, SpaceIL’s Beresheet Moon lander made a series of maneuvers to slingshot its way to the Moon’s orbit - and into the history books.

By reaching the Moon with a privately-funded mission, SpaceIL has marked the beginning of a new era in space exploration. Should their robotic lander touch down successfully on the Moon’s surface, they will become only the fourth group to ever land on the Moon safely -- after the space race powers of the United States and the former Soviet Union; and more recently, China.

Formed to compete in the Google Lunar XPRIZE, SpaceIL decided to take a moonshot and follow their dreams -- and today, they are on the verge of making the impossible possible and changing space exploration for good, by vastly reducing barriers to reaching the Moon. 

And for their achievement upon landing on the Moon, we will be proud to award SpaceIL our first $1M Moonshot Award, a recognition from the XPRIZE Foundation for this incredible accomplishment. 

Beresheet is projected to land in Mare Serenitatis (the Sea of Serenity) between 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM PST on April 11 (1900-2000 UTC).