SpaceIL, IAI to Send Time Capsule on Israel’s Historic Moon Mission

The time capsule will include Israeli national, cultural and traditional symbols, such as Israel’s Declaration of Independence, Hebrew songs, the Wayfarer’s Prayer, and paintings by Israeli children
YEHUD, Israel, Dec. 17 – Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) presented today at IAI’s Space Division a time capsule that will travel to the moon — and remain there indefinitely — with the first Israeli spacecraft, which will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in February, 2019.
The time capsule consists of three discs, each containing hundreds of digital files. Included among the files, which will travel to the moon inside SpaceIL’s lunar spacecraft, are: Details about the spacecraft and the crew building it; national symbols, like Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the Bible, Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah”, and the Israeli flag; cultural objects; materials – paintings, for example – collected over many years from the public for sending to the moon; dictionaries in 27 languages and encyclopedias, an indication of knowledge accumulated by all humanity thus far; Israeli songs; the Wayfarer’s Prayer; books of art and science and Israeli literature; information about Israeli scientific and technological discoveries and developments that influenced the world; photos of Israel’s landscapes and of leading figures in Israeli culture; and a children’s book inspired by SpaceIL’s mission to the moon.
The time capsule, along with the spacecraft, will remain on the moon indefinitely, even after completing Israel’s first lunar mission. With no plans to return to Earth, the spacecraft and information within the time capsule’s disks could be found by future generations.
In early 2019, the spacecraft, recently named Beresheet (the Hebrew word for Genesis), will launch alongside other satellites as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The precise launch date remains undetermined, as SpaceIL awaits final confirmation from the launch company.
“This is another step on our way to the moon,” said Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL. “Inserting the disks into the spacecraft, which is a real “time capsule,” indicates the spacecraft’s readiness to blast off from the launch site in a few weeks. SpaceIL’s crews and IAI have completed testing of the spacecraft and its systems, and are preparing for the beginning of the amazing and complex journey that exemplifies innovation, creativity and courage. The spacecraft’s historic journey, which also includes a scientific mission, makes a significant contribution to advancing the space industry and the subject of space in Israel.”
Yonatan Winetraub, one of three SpaceIL founders, said, as he inserted the time capsule into a spacecraft: “This is a very emotional moment. We do not know how long the spacecraft and the time capsule will remain on the moon. It is very possible that future generations will find this information and want to learn more about this historic moment.”
Opher Doron, IAI’s Space Division General Manager, said: “We are proud to be the first non-governmental entity in the world to go to the moon. Landing on the moon was for many years a little-discussed topic among the public, but recently we see growing interest as world superpowers seek to return to the moon in a variety of commercial missions. There is no doubt that the technological knowledge acquired by IAI during the development and construction of Beresheet, together with Space IL and combined with the space capabilities developed over more than 30 years at IAI, puts us at the global forefront in the ability to complete lunar missions.”
The spacecraft, whose construction was carried out at IAI’s Space Division, successfully completed a series of recent tests to examine the integration of systems, and a series of complex experiments aimed at testing its durability. Concurrently, validation and verification tests checked the function of the spacecraft in scenarios it could experience during the mission. Since actual space conditions cannot be replicated, tests are carried out in part by a SpaceIL simulator that mimics space conditions and part on the spacecraft itself. Next, SpaceIL will soon ship the spacecraft to the launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
In October, SpaceIL and the Israeli Space Agency announced a collaboration with NASA that will enable SpaceIL to improve its ability to track and communicate with the spacecraft before, during, and after landing on the moon. Two weeks ago a retro-reflector from NASA was installed on the spacecraft, an instrument that reflects laser beams and will enable NASA to precisely locate the spacecraft on the lunar surface after the landing. SpaceIL, the Israel Space Agency and NASA also agreed that NASA will have access to data gathered by the magnetometer installed aboard the Israeli spacecraft. The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site.
Please find below photos from today’s event at IAI’s Space Division (photo credits: Yoav Weiss).
About SpaceIL:
SpaceIL is a non-profit organization established in 2011 aiming to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. SpaceIL was founded by three young engineers competing for the international Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge to build, launch and land an unmanned lunar spacecraft. SpaceIL’s other stated goal is to inspire the next generation in Israel and around the world to choose to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The launch will take place on a SpaceX rocket in first quarter of 2019, and the Moon landing will be at the end of a two-month journey in space. Since the establishment of SpaceIL, the task of landing an Israeli spacecraft on the moon has become a national project, with educational impact, funded by donors such as Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Sami Sagol, Lynn Schusterman, Steven and Nancy Grand, Sylvan Adams and others. Morris Kahn, a philanthropist and businessman, took the lead in completing the mission, financing about NIS 100 million of the project and serving as SpaceIL’s president.
About Israel Aerospace Industries:
IAI Ltd. is Israel’s largest aerospace and defense company and a globally recognized technology and innovation leader, specializing in developing and manufacturing advanced, state-of-the-art systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber and homeland security. Since 1953, the company has provided advanced technology solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide including: satellites, missiles, weapon systems and munitions, unmanned and robotic systems, radars, C4ISR and more. IAI also designs and manufactures business jets and aerostructures, performs overhaul and maintenance on commercial aircraft and converts passenger aircraft to refueling and cargo configurations. http://www.iai.co.il/
Appendix – Information Sheet
Spacecraft – The process of planning and developing the spacecraft, which includes the intensive work of engineers, scientists and staff, began in 2013 and continued until last year. The spacecraft, which weighs only 600 kilograms, is considered the smallest to land on the moon. It is only 1.5 meters wide and will be carrying about 75 percent of its weight. Its maximum speed will exceed 10 kilometers per second (36,000 km / h).
The spacecraft’s journey to the Moon – Once launched, the spacecraft will begin with a long and complex flight. The spacecraft will disengage from the SpaceX launch rocket when it reaches 60,000 kilometers from Earth’s surface and begin orbiting the Earth in elliptic orbits. It will circle Earth, widening its circumference each time, while saving fuel and only starting the engines at the end of each cycle. Then, at the right time, it will leave Earth’s gravity and enter the gravity of the moon. After circling the moon a few times, it will begin the landing process, carried out autonomously by the spacecraft’s navigation control system. The entire flight, from launch through landing, will take about two months.
The mission – Once the spacecraft, carrying the Israeli flag, lands on the moon in April 2019, it will begin taking photos of the landing site. It will also perform measurements of the magnetic field in a scientific experiment carried out in cooperation with the Weizmann Institute and NASA. The data collected from this experiment will be transferred to IAI’s control room during the two days following the landing.

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