UPDATE: Israel’s inaugural voyage to the moon – the world’s first privately funded lunar mission – launched successfully on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 8:45 pm. ET from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. The spacecraft successfully disengaged from the SpaceX Falcon 9 at around 60,000 kilometers above Earth’s surface, beginning, under its own power, a two-month voyage to the Moon’s surface. Beresheet communicated for the first time with the mission’s control center in Yehud, Israel, at 9:23 pm ET, and the spacecraft’s legs deployed two minutes later. As of the morning of Feb. 22, the spacecraft was 69,400 km above Earth, and is starting its way back to begin its first orbit around Earth.
The United States, Russia, and China have all landed spacecrafts on the moon. Soon humanity will add a fourth country to that list: Israel.
SpaceIL is scheduled to launch Beresheet, an unmanned spacecraft, onboard an American SpaceX rocket today (Feb. 21) at 5:45 pm PST. It will be the first non-governmental spacecraft to land on the moon. As Beresheet launches into orbit, so does a new era of pride and wonder for the Jewish people and the world.
The iCenter — the North American educational partner of SpaceIL — released The Landing Page – An Educator’s Launch Kit to help people engage with this historic moment. The Launch Kit, designed for use by parents and educators, includes STEM activities, Hebrew materials, stories, videos, Moon Party Spotify playlists, and more.
You can watch the launch live at Watch it here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX. Beresheet’s creators — the nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the nation’s largest aerospace and defense company — will also webcast the launch live on Facebook. Live feeds beginning at 5:30 pm PST (15 minutes before launch). For other viewing options, click here.
The story of SpaceIL is one that inspires. Meaningful Israel education is organic, exciting, and resonant. It emphasizes people and their interests. It is also global, setting Israel within a context of universal human narratives. Equally necessary are great stories and events that inspire and invite this generation to see themselves as part of the ongoing life of the land and people of Israel.
This achievement — eight years in the making — taps into our imagination, curiosity, and wonder — and blends STEM with Israel in a monumental way. And it does all of this in the context of an historic quest to reach for the stars.