Tel Aviv (dpa) – Israel’s Beresheet space probe successfully carried
out another manoeuvrer around the moon as it prepares to descend to
the surface later this week.
The manoeuvrer, which lasted 36 seconds and burned 6 kilograms of
fuel, lowered the orbit of the Beresheet to an altitude range of 211
to 467 kilometres, the mission team said on Monday.
The washing-machine sized spacecraft is set to land on the moon on
Thursday; if it succeeds it will be the first lunar mission by a
non-governmental organization to Earth’s closest neighbour.
The Beresheet, which means Genesis in Hebrew, also would be the
smallest spacecraft ever to reach the moon. Israel would become the
fourth country after the United States, the Soviet Union and China to
make a soft landing on the moon.
The probe, weighing just under 600 kilograms and measuring 1.5 metres
in height, is to place an Israeli flag on the moon and examine its
Its launch in February was the fruit of an eight-year-long project
undertaken by the SpaceIL non-profit organization and Israel
Aerospace Industries (IAI).
Though the IAI is a governmental organization, the funds for the
mission were largely raised independently.