Since SpaceIL's establishment, the mission of landing an Israeli spacecraft on the moon has become a national project embodying educational values, funded by donors such as Dr. Miriam and Mr. Sheldon Adelson, Mr. Sammy Sagol, Mrs. Lynn Schusterman, Mr. Steven Grand and others. "And this is going to be the first privately run mission to the Moon".
SpaceIL President Morris Kahn has donated about $27 million to the effort and chose to proceed even after the contest deadline passed and effectively ended without any finalists achieving the goal.
Kahn said costs associated with the program hover around $95 million.
In the coming months, the Israeli spacecraft will undergo intensive checks and tests at IAI to prove that it can withstand the launch, flight and landing conditions, said Anteby.
"We will put the Israeli flag on the moon" said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL.
The entire journey, from launch to landing, will last approximately two months. It measures about 2 meters in diameter and stands just a meter and a half high.
SpaceIL aims to set in motion an "Apollo effect" in Israel: to encourage the next generation of Israeli children to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); to change their perception of these subjects; to generate a sense of capability; and to allow them to dream big dreams even in our small country.
Once positioned, the "completely autonomous" module, which looks like a round table with four legs, will take photographs and collect data on the Moon's magnetic fields before sending the information back to Israel's Weizmann Institute.
For children from any country, SpaceIL introduced its Moon Kids website in English, chock full of fun interactive content about the moon and outer space.
IAI CEO Josef Weiss said he regards the launch of the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon as an example of the wonderful capabilities once can reach in civilian space activity.
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