Watch Israel's historic moon launch live
The Beresheet ship will be hitching a ride with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this Thursday.
"We are ready for the launch," SpaceIL co-founder Yonatan Winetraub told From the Grapevine on Thursday. "All systems are go."
Israel will attempt to make history tonight as it launches a ship into outer space. When it lands on the moon, Israel will become only the fourth country to ever make a lunar landing – after Russia, the U.S. and China.
A live video feed will begin at approximately 8:20 PM EST on Thursday, February 21 (3:30 AM in Israel) on the From The Grapevine Facebook page as well as in the video at the top of this article.
The ship – called "Beresheet," Hebrew for Genesis – has been undergoing final tests in Cape Canaveral, Florida for the past several weeks. Weather permitting, the liftoff is scheduled to take place from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Thursday, February 21 at 8:45 PM EST (3:45 AM in Israel). The ship is carpooling into space aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. The SpaceIL ship will be riding along with various satellites and other research equipment, all of which will get dropped off first. The Beresheet will be the last passenger dropped off in the SpaceX carpool and is expected to detach about 30 minutes after liftoff.
The Falcon 9 was first created in 2010. It has launched more than 60 times and has a success rate of 96.8%. "Please cross your fingers because this is a hard mission and we need all the help that we can get," Winetraub told us. You can read our entire interview with him to find out how the idea first came about, the ship's planned lunar experiments and what surprising gifts are onboard.
The ship is expected to make its lunar landing in mid-April.
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Related Topics: Space