First Private Lunar Lander Passes Launch Tests at SpaceX Facility
In July, SpaceIL announced plans to send the first privately funded lander to the Moon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
On Wednesday, the Israeli nonprofit tweeted that it “successfully completed the testing stage” of refueling and assembling the launcher. The tests took place at SpaceX’s processing facility in Florida, according to GeekWire — and now that they’re out of the way, SpaceIL’s craft is one step closer to launch.
The lander, which SpaceIL dubbed Beresheet, is about the size of a dishwasher and will weigh 1,290 pounds once fueled up.
The plan is for the craft to split from the Falcon 9 when it hits an altitude of 37,000 miles. It will then complete a series of maneuvers before landing on the Moon approximately eight weeks after launch, which is currently scheduled for some time after Feb. 18.