The Beresheet moon lander will attempt to become the first privately-funded spacecraft to reach the moon, and these photos show the robotic probe’s journey through testing inside a clean room at Israel Aerospace Industries, followed by its attachment to a multi-satellite stack for launch on a Falcon 9 rocket.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 8:45 p.m. EST Thursday (0145 GMT Friday) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The commercial launcher, featuring a reused first stage booster flying for the third time, hauled into orbit Indonesia’s Nusantara Satu communications satellite, the Beresheet lunar lander for SpaceIL, and the S5 space surveillance payload for the Air Force Research Laboratory.
An Ariane 5 rocket launched Tuesday at 2101 GMT (4:01 p.m. EST) from French Guiana with a communications satellite to provide broadband and television services for the government of Saudi Arabia and commercial clients across Europe and the Middle East, and an Indian payload to help bridge the digital divide in South Asia.
Telesat has selected Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket to “play a key role” in delivering potentially hundreds of broadband communications satellites into low Earth orbit under a multi-launch agreement announced last week, as Telesat officials prepare to select between two industrial teams to begin building spacecraft for the Internet network later this year.