SpaceX is set to launch the first privately developed lunar lander toward the moon on tonight atop its Falcon 9 rocket. This will be the first privately funded lunar lander mission to reach the moon. The 1,322 robot lander, called Beresheet, which is Hebrew for “in the beginning”, was designed by SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit. “I wanted to show that Israel — this little country with a population of about 6 or 8 million people — could actually do a job that was only done by three major powers in the world: Russia, China, and the United States,” said Morris Kahn, a billionaire who funded about $43 million of the roughly $100 million mission to Business Insider. Read more for the livestream (begins in a few hours) and additional information.
“Roughly 30 minutes after the Falcon 9 lifts off, Beresheet will separate from the rocket into a transfer orbit at an altitude of roughly 37,000 miles (60,000 kilometers). (That’s about 150 times the altitude of the International Space Station.) Two minutes after separation, the spacecraft will send out its first communication to its mission control center, in Yehud, Israel,” reports Space.com.