UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) – Israel plans to launch its first spacecraft to the moon this year.
At a press conference in Yehud on Tuesday, July 10, Israel SpaceIL said it plans to launch an unnamed lunar spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida in December.
If all goes to plan, the pod-shaped spacecraft, weighing around 1,300 pounds at launch, will land on the moon on February 13, 2019.
The organizers said on Tuesday, the first task will be to plant an Israeli flag on the moon.
The project has been ongoing since 2010 when Google Lunar XPrize offered a $30 million award to encourage scientists and entrepreneurs to come up with a plan to reach the moon.
The project expired earlier this year but SpaceIL decided to push forward anyway.
The president of SpaceIL said in a statement, “After eight challenging years, I am filled with pride.”