(February 21, 2019 / JNS) Israel became the first to launch a privately funded mission to the moon, in addition to becoming the fourth country to launch a lunar spacecraft, on Thursday night.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Aboard it is the spacecraft, called “Beresheet” (Hebrew for “In the Beginning,” the first weekly portion in the Torah).
At 9:45 p.m. Eastern Standard time on Thursday, the lunar lander will separate from the SpaceX rocket at a little more than 37,282 miles above Earth’s surface and start a two-month journey to the moon. A few minutes after disengaging from the rocket, Beresheet will then be in contact with the mission’s control center in the Israeli city of Yehud.
Buzz Aldrin, who in 1969 was one of the first two people to walk on the moon, congratulated SpaceX on the launch, having earlier wished good luck to Israel on landing the spacecraft on the moon.
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) February 20, 2019