Jakarta, NNC - An Israeli organization on Tuesday, July 10, announced plans to lift off the country's first spacecraft to the moon in December.
The unmanned spacecraft weighing around 585 kilograms at launch, will land on the moon February 13 2019, if all goes as according to plan, organizers SpacelL told reporters.
The spacecraft will be launched via a rocket from US entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX company and its mission is to do research on the moon's magnetic field.
However, its first duty will be to raise an Israel flag on the moon, said SpaceIL cited from AFP.
The project started as part of Google Lunar XPrize, offering a prize of US$ 30 milion (around IDR 429 billion) to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to initiate missions to the moon at a low cost.
The Israeli team that goes by the name SpaceIL decided to participate in the competition and finally partnered with the state-owned Israel Aerospace industry.
Google's contest ended in March without a winner having to reached the moon, but Israel's team vowed to push the development further for the project.
The private initiative is estimated to cost a whopping US$ 95 million, which was mostly funded by Israeli billionaire Morris Khan.