Fly me to the moon

October 8, 2015 Agencies
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Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, has hosted members of the SpaceIL venture at his residence in Jerusalem.

The SpaceIL venture is an association building the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon. The event began with a celebratory declaration that the Israeli venture had secured a place on board the American giant aerospace rocket launcher SpaceX, and consequently, the association had become a leading contestant in the competition.

President Rivlin and members of SPaceIL  Photo: Mark Neyman

President Rivlin and members of SPaceIL Photo: Mark Neyman

The President began his remarks by saying, “I remember as a child, the greeting that appeared on gum wrappers, ‘by the time you turn 21 you will reach the moon’. At the time it seemed impossible, but you have turned it into a reality. For hundreds of thousands of students who have already been exposed to your project and millions who have yet to be exposed to it, your company is a model of courage, success, and a vision of Israeli innovation. I wish you much success.”

During the event, the new spaceship model, which is adorned with the Israeli flag and inscribed with the words ‘long live Israel’, was unveiled.

Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Ofir Akunis MK also spoke at the event, and said, “This is another step for mankind, but the giant step for the State of Israel. I feel great pride in knowing that the Israeli flag will reach the moon, and with it the inscription ‘long live Israel’ which is imprinted on the spacecraft.”

The event was attended by the President of the XPrize Foundation, Mr. Robert Weiss, the founder of SpaceIL Yariv Bash and SpaceIL CEO Dr. Eran Privman.

The SpaceIL organization was founded by three engineers who responded to the challenge of the international competition – Google Lunar XPrize, which sees participants from around the world competing for the change to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. The competition offers a prize of $20 million to the first team who succeeds in accomplishing three tasks: completing a soft landing without crashing, travelling 500 meters over the lunar surface and sending videos and still images back to Earth. The SpaceIL organization rose to the challenge and is the only Israeli competitor in the competition. Its success will be a major milestone in the development of Israeli technology. So far only three countries have landed a spacecraft on the moon – China, the US and the former Soviet Union.

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