Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Images of the Day: Israel's Lunar Lander...

An image of SpaceIL's lunar lander at its assembly facility in Israel.
SpaceIL

Just thought I'd share these photos and artwork depicting the SpaceIL lunar lander...which is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida this December, and touch down on the surface of the Moon on February 13, 2019. Instead of taking a direct route to the Moon and do a standard orbit insertion maneuver using a lengthy engine burn, the SpaceIL lander will settle into Earth's orbit, and gradually raise its orbit (using smaller thruster burns) until it takes the spacecraft near the lunar surface...where it will make its landing attempt. Israel's spacecraft was one of many participants to compete for the Google Lunar XPrize that began almost a decade ago. The XPrize competition ended last March without awarding any winners (the participants were originally supposed to send a spacecraft to the Moon by 2014 to win the grand prize of $20 million USD, but that date was extended to this year after 2014 turned out to be an unfeasible launch date for the competitors), but that didn't stop the Israeli team from continuing the project and being only 5 months away from making this mission a reality.


As shown in the tweet above, I sent a message to SpaceIL mentioning that it would be awesome if it allowed folks around the world to submit their names via the Web to fly aboard the lander when it heads to the Moon. SpaceIL liked my tweet, but didn't respond to my suggestion. However, it did have a previous PR campaign where SpaceIL announced that anyone who took a photo with a model of its lander at Ben Gurion Airport (in Israel) would have it placed aboard the spacecraft if the person posted the pic on Facebook and Instagram with the #SpaceIL hashtag included. Lucky airport patrons! If someone at SpaceIL is reading this Blog entry: You still have two to three months (technically it's about five months, but those last two months would be spent on prepping the lander for launch at the SpaceX facility in Florida) to make a quick "Send Your Name to the Moon's Surface" campaign to happen online! Happy Hump Day.

Another image of SpaceIL's lunar lander at its assembly facility in Israel.
SpaceIL

A computer-generated image of SpaceIL's lunar lander approaching the surface of the Moon.
SpaceIL

An artist's concept of SpaceIL's lunar lander approaching the surface of the Moon.An artist's concept of SpaceIL's lunar lander approaching the surface of the Moon.
SpaceIL

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