SpaceX launches the first private moon lander on Israel's behalf

SpaceX launches moon lander lands booster despite tough conditions

Israel's first spacecraft built to land on the moon was set for launch on Thursday from Florida on a mission that, if successful, would make the Jewish state only the fourth nation to achieve a controlled touchdown on the lunar surface.

The rocket left the pad at Space Launch Complex 40 at 01:45 UTC, marking the first launch for SpaceX from the facility in 2019.

The forty-day voyage culminates with a landing scheduled for April 11.

Israel's non-profit SpaceIL launched its spacecraft from Florida's Cape Canaveral Thursday on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, in a bid to become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the moon.

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First Beresheet will orbit the Earth for not quite two months. As well as the Air Force Research Laboratory spacecraft. Nusantara Satu is Indonesia's first high-throughput satellite that will improve Internet connectivity in the region, according to a SpaceX press kit.

It will eventually be captured by the moon's gravity where it will enter a lunar orbit. But Israel's privately funded lunar lander - a first not just for Israel but commercial space - generated the buzz. The first soft landing on the moon came in 1966; executed by both the both Russian Federation and the United States; there was not another unmanned soft landing until China launched Chang'e 3 in 2013. Previously, only the U.S., U.S.S.R, and China have landed spacecraft on the moon. This is a historic step for all nations and commercial space as we look to extend our collaborations beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon. As we better understand Israel's capabilities and the innovative work of their private industry, we know they'll be an even stronger global partner in the future, one vital to the success of extending commercial space to the Moon and eventually on to Mars and beyond. The moon doesn't have a global magnetic field like Earth does, but specific regions and rocks are magnetized, as previous lunar expeditions have found. Mare Serenitatis is one of these regions, and Beresheet aims to collect more data about it. NASA and SpaceIL will share that data, as part of their flight support agreement. In addition to Kahn, Dr Miriam Adelson, an Israeli-American doctor and philanthropist, and her husband, casino magnate and investor Sheldon Adelson, contributed $US24 million to keep the lunar lander soaring. Once it lands, the probe will conduct various experiments on the Moon's surface, testing its magnetism and geology. They were deployed shortly after, at 44 minutes after launch.

Spaceflight Industries acts as a broker for satellite operators that need to get into space, finding extra room on rockets already launching.

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