Israeli Companies Plan to Take 'One Small Step' by Early 2019 [bloomberg.com]
State-run Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. and non-profit SpaceIL announced plans to launch a lunar mission in December, putting Israel on track to become the fourth country to land on the moon.
The unmanned, $88 million Israeli spacecraft will blast off on a Falcon 9 rocket made by Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. At 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds), it will be the smallest spaceship so far to make a lunar landing. Its two-month journey will start from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
"I am filled with pride that the first Israeli spacecraft, which is in its final construction and testing phases, will soon be making its way to the moon," said Morris Kahn, SpaceIL president and a founder of Israeli communications and media technology developer Amdocs Ltd.
No government has landed a craft on the moon since the 1970s, but interest has revived recently. President Donald Trump has requested almost $900 million in new funding for NASA moon missions. China this year plans to land a probe on the unexplored dark side of the moon, where radio signals from Earth can't be received.