Israeli lunar lander passes pre-launch tests

Israeli lunar lander

SpaceIL’s Beresheet lunar lander is suspended at a payload processing facility in Florida. (SpaceIL Photo via Twitter)

The managers of Israel’s first mission to the moon say their lunar lander has passed a crucial set of tests in preparation for February’s launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with an assist from a Seattle space company.

SpaceIL’s lander — which has been dubbed Beresheet, the Hebrew word for “In the Beginning” — is scheduled for liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida no earlier than Feb. 18.

Mission success would make Israel the fourth nation to execute a soft landing on the moon, following in the footsteps of the United States, Russia and China.

Spaceflight, the launch logistics subsidiary of Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries, brokered Beresheet’s inclusion as a secondary payload on a mission that will send Indonesia’s PSN-6 telecommunications satellite, also known as Nusantara Satu, toward geostationary orbit.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

About Alan Boyle

Aerospace and science editor for GeekWire, creator of Cosmic Log, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.
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