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The blavatnik family foundation announced on wednesday that it provided a $1 million grant to spaceil, the israeli non-profit organization behind israel’s efforts to reach the moon last year. the foundation said the grant would support spaceil’s #beresheet
2 spacecraft program and contribute to the goal of landing an unmanned israeli spacecraft on the lunar surface as well as putting israel’s first nanosatellite in lunar orbit.
spaceil’s beresheet (hebrew for “genesis”) spacecraft, built together with israel’s aerospace industries (iai), crash-landed on the moon last april as it tried to complete the final leg of its journey. the spacecraft was launched successfully on february 22, 2019 riding piggyback on a #spacex
falcon 9 rocket. it orbited the earth and then the moon, traveling 6.5 million km before attempting its doomed landing. the mission dashed israel’s hopes of becoming the fourth country in the world (after russia, china, and the us) to complete a controlled moon landing, but it still broke ground on lunar initiatives. it was a largely privately-funded moon mission, operating on a relatively modest budget (for a space mission) of approximately $100 million. beresheet was also the smallest spacecraft ever built, by the smallest team to ever build a spacecraft, and traveled the largest distance to the moon.