SpaceX, a rocket company founded by Elon Mus, is about to launch the first private lunar device.
Regardless of whether a successful mission of the Moon will be successful, these efforts will have a long-term value for Israel and the emerging space industry of the country. But if everything works as planned, Israel will become the fourth nation that will ever land on a lunar surface. (Japan, India and Europe broke the probes on the surface of the moon, but did not carefully set robots.)
The $ 100 million mission is headed by a non-profit organization called SpaceIL ("IL" in the name "Israel"). ), who designed and built a 1
Beresheet, equipped with cameras, magnetic sensors and transmitters for data transmission to and from Earth, is now waiting for the launch of the Falcon 9 missile in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The SpaceX missile should rise on Thursday evening at 20:45. EST, excluding technical failures and bad weather. (US Air Force predicted that the middle will have 80% chance of launch).
Morris Cahn, an entrepreneur and billionaire born in South Africa, is the largest sponsor of the SpaceIL mission. In an interview with Business Insider, Kahn said he took over $ 43 million from the $ 100 million that was spent on the development and launch of the SpaceX missile.
"I wanted to show that Israel, a small country with a population of about 6 or 8 million people, can actually carry out the work that was carried out by only three great powers in the world: Russia, China and the United States," Kan said. Israel to implement and implement this goal with a smaller budget, and being a smaller country and without a large space industry that would support it? "
This week the world learns.
" Without money you will not get anywhere "
At the beginning of 2011, Kahn visited the International Space Conference in Israel, where three young engineers – Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Jonathan Vinterab – were attracted by the attention
"They said they were going to take part in Google Contest. It was an XPrize contest to ship a spaceship to the moon and win a $ 20 million prize, "said Kan." They seemed very proud of themselves and I thought it was pretty neat. "
This contest was Google Lunar XPRIZE, which began in September 2007. He launched tens of millions of dollars in prize money in hopes of encouraging a private company to land a robot for the Moon by 2014.
SpaceIL presentation, Kan – who at that time had net capital to close 1 billion dollars – asked the group leaders whether they have money.
"They are with AZAL: "Money? Money, what is it?" I said, "Without money you are not going anywhere," – said Kahn. "I told them:" Look, come to my office, I'll give you 100,000 dollars – no questions, and you can start. "And so I innocently interfered with this ambitious project.
Kan said that" the project he started asking for a budget, with $ 8 million worth of research, development, and testing, and about $ 5 million for launching the missile – "a lot of money," said Kan, but he first agreed pay for launching a rocket.
"I do not want to be the richest man in the cemetery. I would like to feel that I used my money productively, "Kan said." I would also like to see that I used it in a way that I like. I like the process. "
Over time, the organizers of Google Lunar XPrize continued to lean out of the final the term of the competition for 2014. But the competition was finally closed in January 2018 without a winner.
However, SpaceIL intended to move forward, and Kahn continued to provide cash.
"Slowly, I pulled myself into this project, and I had no idea where he was going to take me, "Kan said." Today I know. We took about $ 100 million. It's a huge amount of money. "
He also helped raise funds from other sources, including about $ 2 million from the government of Israel, Kan said he was not easy to raise money, but he turned to the national pride of the Israelis.
" The introduction of a spaceship to the Moon is a strange project, "said Kan." It almost seems un-doable, and even if it's realable, it takes someone to imagine actually seeing why you would do it. "
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Nevertheless, $ 100 million is the comparable amount of money to the $ 469 million spent by NASA on seven similar Surveyor lunar landers in the 1960s. Based on inflation, this The sum of today is about $ 3.5 billion – about $ 500 million per mission.
How SpaceIL will use SpaceX to land on the Moon
The moon is at a distance of 239,000 miles from Earth, but the biggest problem is to draw enough energy to get out of our gravitational field. the planet For example, sending three Apollo astronauts, a small space capsule, and an airplane with two people who need a lunar shipping, demanded 36 Saturn V missiles, filled with millions of pounds of fuel.
SpaceIL claims that its robot "will be the smallest spacecraft that will land on the Moon to date," to achieve a lunar landing on a tight budget. The Beresheet is simply a shameful 5 foot high when tucked into a launch position, which makes it relatively easy to squeeze aboard a rocket. Since the spacecraft was built to be light, it does not have a cooling system and will overheat on a bubble sun on the moon after, perhaps, three days.
The robot also reduces costs without launching one. Instead, it is a "horse" in space with a much greater load: an Indonesian satellite called "Nusantara Satu" or PSN 6.
At the end of the SpaceX, it is planned to launch both spacecraft on the Falcon 9 rocket twice-used booster Launching an updated booster for the third time could reduce millions of space assets (if not tens of millions) of dollars.
Read more : Elon Musk hit the world record for launching 2018 rockets. Here's every story that creates SpaceX mission this year.
SpaceIL refused to share its actual payment for the start. But pricing tables from the company responsible for launching rocket science, called Spaceflight Industries, suggest that Launching Beresheet may cost about $ 22.5 million – much less than the $ 62 million exclusive Ralph price on Falcon 9.
Weight Beresheet and the launch price, SpaceIL also chose a roughly 2.5-month trip from launch to landing. (For comparison, the astronauts of Apollo took only four days after launching on the Moon.)
"As soon as it disconnects from the carrier rocket, the spacecraft will begin to move around the Earth in continuously larger elliptical orbits, ultimately covering a total distance of 9 million SpaceL said. "This long and complex course has been chosen because it will allow you to complete a trip to the Moon with minimal fuel consumption."
About 75% of the mass of Beresheta consists of fuel that pushes it into a lunar orbit – a trip what's up Meanwhile, the probe is about six weeks old, as soon as the gravity of the Moon enters the work on April 4th, it will reduce its orbit within the next week.
The final dropout of the Beresheet rocket engine on April 11 will lead it to a lunar surface in 15 minutes. The probe is guided by a lunar landing with stand-alone software and computer, just as powerful as a smartphone. A set of 3D-printed feet will sweat the last 16 feet of its free fall.
"The spacecraft will use different sensors to measure its location and height relative to the moon's surface," said SpaceIL. "The ground team will not be able to intervene during the landing process."
During descent and after landing, the landing gear should record videos and panoramic photos showing videos in the control room at Israel Aerospace Industries in Yehud.
"It will be possible to manage all systems of spacecraft from this control room," said SpaceIL.
What the first private lunar device will do on the Moon
Beresheet Plot Plot – Mare Serenitatis, or "Sea of Serenity", in the northern hemisphere of the Moon. This is a dark lava section of the ancient volcanic eruption. The area is also a source of magnetic and gravitational anomalies, and in the popular culture, the left side of the "man on the moon". Before overheating, Beresheet will measure the magnetic field of the Moon with the help of a device supplied by the University of California, Los Angeles. SpaceIL is planning to exchange data collected from NASA and other space agencies.
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Kahn argues that the scientific mission is not as important as the fact that Beresha's emblem symbolizes the true meaning of its name.
"This project will bring Israel to the deepest space. I think this is a new milestone and in fact what we do is the first non-governmental project that will go to the Moon," Kan said. "I think that others will follow us. In fact, I'm sure others follow us."
The retired NASA astronaut Scott Parazinsky also sees mission as a step towards a greater future for the Israeli space industry.
"Israel is such an incredible technological force, and so I think it's now very uncommon that non-cosmic nations – in other words, those who are not capable of launching their astronauts – can now" Launch large useful loads "- said the Parasitic Business Insider." "It may be that they will also be able to launch their astronauts in the not too distant future."
Kan said that "it does not guarantee" that the mission will be successful – "It just will take one small crash, and we actually fly into space and lose control, "he added.
But even if he believes that "the effect of Apollo" to encourage young Israelis to dream of their future science and technology is already successful.
"We really got to more than a million young students and we have awakened them to space," said Kan. "This goal, I think, we have already achieved."