Posted by Montu 8:30 AM (CDT)
Thursday July 12, 2018
An Israeli company is going to be the first to land a privately-funded unmanned spacecraft on the moon if everything goes to plan early next year. SpaceIL originally started this project as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, but they along with all the other competitors weren't able to make the March 31, 2018 deadline to land a craft on the moon and move it 500M once it landed. Even though the XPrize has been cancelled this didn't stop SpaceIL from finishing their design and booking a Falcon 9 for next year. If successful this will make Israel the fourth country in the world to soft land a spacecraft on the moon. Check out their flight plan in the animated video.
The spacecraft is a "hopper", which will land and then take off again with the fuel left in its propulsion system, and then perform another landing 500m away, which was a condition of the XPrize.