Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Lifts Off With Three Payloads

Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Lifts Off With Three Payloads

Israel will launch its spacecraft dubbed "Beresheet", or "beginning" in Hebrew, in the nation's first mission to land on the Moon's surface.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off on Thursday at 8.45 pm local time from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

It will take two months for Beresheet to reach the Mare Serenitatis on the Moon's northern hemisphere, where it will measure lunar magnetic anomalies and give the data to NASA once collected.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was watching the launch live from the Israeli control center in Yehud, near Tel Aviv.

Watch the liftoff here. That makes for a much longer trip; the moon right now is almost 230,000 miles (370,000 kilometers) away. It is also the first private rather than government effort with funds coming from private donors including Morris Kahn and Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

SpaceIL officials have said they hope Beresheet will help inspire Israel's defense-focused space program to pursue more science-oriented missions. The proportion of flight-proven to new booster launches is likely to continue to grow in 2019, ultimately reaching a point where new boosters are limited to inaugural hardware debuts or specific contractual requests from conservative U.S. government customers.

The Israeli team said glare from the sun on the spacecraft's sensors was making it more hard than expected for the spacecraft to orient itself according to the position of the stars as it prepared for its first orbit around the Earth, the first stage of its slow seven-week journey to the moon.

Winetraub pointed out that the moon and the earth had to be in sync before the rocket could launch, adding, "The moon is coming around, and we're doing our own orbit, and we need to synchronize everything". NASA followed with the Ranger 4 spacecraft in 1962. Data will be relayed via the United States space agency NASA's Deep Space Network to SpaceIL's Israel-based ground station Yehud.

On Thursday night, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first-ever private moon mission.

Beresheet is only expected to survive on the lunar surface for about two or three days. The lander also has retroreflectors installed by NASA that can bounce back lasers beamed from Earth to get an accurate measurement of the distance between our planet and its natural satellite.

Ramon's widow, Rona, was a big supporter of Beresheet; she died of cancer in December.

SpaceX released photos from the launch shortly after it happened. The booster landed smoothly on an offshore ocean platform, after the hottest re-entry yet, according to SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk. Sparks from burning metal were visible in the landing video. Musk added that SpaceX will use the booster for a fourth time in April for the Crew Dragon in-flight abort test. No one will be aboard.

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