Published: Thu, April 11, 2019
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Israel's Beresheet completes second successful maneuver ahead of moon landing

Israel's Beresheet completes second successful maneuver ahead of moon landing

The closest point to the moon-the perilune-is now at 460 kilometers away.

Israel's spacecraft Beresheet has successfully entered the moon's orbit after a month-and-a-half in transit and will now adjust its orbit in order to prepare for landing on the lunar surface on April 11.

The Beresheet lander, a washing machine-sized craft created by Israeli non-profit SpaceIL, has been traveling in increasingly large circles around Earth for the past six weeks since its launch in February. Each time the rocket would fire its engine to push its speed even higher.

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A picture taken by the Beresheet spacecraft of the moon's surface with the Earth in the background on April 5, 2019. Beresheet is expected to attempt its landing on Thursday, 11 April 2019.

Morris Kahn, chairman of SpaceIL who donated over $40 million to the project, said in a statement, "The lunar capture is an historic event in and of itself - but it also joins Israel in a seven-nation club that has entered the moon's orbit".

On Wednesday evening, Beresheet is set to perform its final maneuver before the expected landing on Thursday scheduled between 22:00 pm and 23:00 pm Israel time. SpaceIL built Beresheet, a nonprofit in Israel, which is the 1 privately financed venture for sending a spacecraft into orbit so away from our planet Earth.$20 million Google Lunar X Prize was originally aimed by SpaceIL as the 1 isolated robotic craft to set down the moon, but a year ago the deadline was passed. Its current minimum distance is just 210 kilometers (130 miles).

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