CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION: After a 60-day drought of Space Coast launches, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched at 8:45 PM on Feburary 21, 2019 to deliver three payloads to space. The primary mission is a Nusantara Satu satellite for Indonesia. Also riding along were a small satellite for the USAF and a privately-developed lunar lander called Beresheet.
SpaceX’s first east-coast launch of 2019 lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Photo Credit: Bill Jelen / We Report Space
The Lunar Lander began when three men walked into a bar in 2010 and proposed a plan to land a spacecraft on the moon. The spacecraft design began in 2015. The project was the leading competitor in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, until the competition expired without a winner on March 30, 2018. Like all good projects hatched in a bar, the principals decided to go through with the launch whether there is a prize or not.
The lander has begun a series of elliptical orbits that will require about eight weeks to reach the Moon. Although the Moon and the Earth are 238,000 miles apart, Beresheet will be travelling 4 million miles. On ...