Jerusalem: Israel’s non-profit space organisation SpaceIL has raised $70 million for a second trip to the Moon in 2024, a media report said.
Two years ago, the organisation’s Beresheet spacecraft crashed onto the Moon’s surface in a failed landing bid.
The Beresheet-2 mission, which hopes to launch in 2024, will create history by landing two spacecraft on the moon at the same time, the Times of Jerusalem reported. The mission will launch a mothership into space, from which the two landers, each weighing 120 kilograms, will detach.
One of the crafts aims to land on the far side of the Moon, which only China has accomplished to date, while the second craft is scheduled to land at an as-yet-undetermined site on the Moon, the company said in a statement.
The mothership, meanwhile, will remain in space for five years and serve as a platform for educational science activities in Israel and worldwide via a remote connection that will enable students in multiple countries to take part in deep-space scientific research.
The financing was raised from a group of entrepreneur-philanthropists, comprising Patrick Drahi, from the Patrick and Lina Drahi Foundation; Morris Kahn and the Kahn Foundation, which also backed the first Beresheet mission; and the Moshal Space Foundation, in partnership with Entree Capital, the report said.
The total cost of the mission is estimated at $100 million.
The first Beresheet spacecraft crashed onto the Moon’s surface in April 2019, when the main engine failed just a few kilometres above the lunar surface.
The SpaceIL project launched as Israel’s entry into the Google LunarX challenge for non-governmental groups to land a spacecraft on the Moon. Google ended the contest in 2018 with no winners, but the Israeli team decided to continue its efforts privately, the report said.