Beresheet Carries Out Another Successful Maneuver in Moon's Orbit

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Israel's Beresheet space probe successfully carried out another manoeuvre around the moon as it prepares to descend on the moon surface later this week, the mission team said on Monday.

SpaceIL is the nonprofit group behind the launch of the mission, and IAI are the Israeli equivalent of NASA.

SpaceIL is a non-profit organization so this will be the first non-government spacecraft to land on the Moon or any other celestial body.

"The lunar capture is a historic event in and of itself - but it also joins Israel in a seven-nation club that has entered the Moon's orbit", SpaceIL chairman Morris Kahn told Agence-France Presse.

Beresheet, named after the first word and the first book in the Torah (meaning "in the beginning"), lifted off from Cape Canaveral on February 22.

The Beresheet, which means Genesis in Hebrew, also would be the smallest spacecraft ever to reach the moon.

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Kahn is expected to speak about the mission and answer questions in an interactive YouTube Live session at 7 pm IST (4.30 pm local time in Israel).

The spacecraft is aiming to make history twice: as the first private-sector Moon landing, and the first from Israel.

Beresheet conducted a successful maneuver this evening as the main engine was activated for 4 minutes.

The spacecraft is expected to land on the moon on April 11. Together with four other teams - Moon Express, Synergy Moon, Teamindus, and Hakuto - SpaceIL raced to develop low-priced methods of robotic space exploration.

UPDATE: As it turns out, Lunar XPRIZE will award them a $1M Moonshot Award.