Beresheet, Israel's mission funded, designed and launched to the surface of the Moon, has successfully entered the moon's orbit after a month and a half in transit. The ship will now adjust its orbit in preparation for landing on April 11.
The spacecraft was launched on February 21 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, accelerating towards the moon in an increasingly wide Earth orbit. In a testament to the accuracy of the engineers at SpaceIL, The organization that created the ship, Beresheet finished its burning and entered an elliptical lunar orbit within 9 minutes after the scheduled time to do so. before launching. That's some space science!
The next step in the plan is to reduce the size of the lunar orbit of the ship with successive burns, to the point where it can make a single final burn and fall safely to the surface.
"The lunar capture is a historical event in itself, but it also joins Israel in a seven-nation club that has entered the lunar orbit," SpaceIL's Morris Kahn said in a statement. "In a week from today, we will make more history by landing on the Moon, joining three superpowers that have done so."
Those superpowers are, of course, the US. UU., Russia and China, the last of which touched the moon just earlier this year, on the far (not "dark") side of the moon, to boot.
But Beresheet would be the first private concern to have a soft landing on the Moon, and not only conceived and financed in private, but also designed and launched by private industry. It is a powerful indicator of the strength of the global space community. With less than $ 100 million, it has also been quite cheap.
Assuming everything goes well, the lander will land in the Mare Serenitatis, or Sea of Serenity, and will peek out for a few days. It is equipped with some experimental instruments, but since the lander will stop working after a short period of time, it is not crucial or long-term.
Science, however, is only the secondary objective of the mission. It is mainly because of the national pride and the advancement of the Israeli space community that Beresheet was launched, and to that end it has already been a success. Stay tuned one week from today when the lander descends to the surface.