“‘Britain is building it’s first spaceport’… Yes of course of you are ‘Great’ Britain… your first spaceport.” 🙂
(We’ll believe it when we see it. Another one of the UKs bullshit fantasies… they’ll go round telling everyone their building a spaceport, maybe get enough deranged trolls to post that their building a spaceport… on the dark net… but they won’t actually do shit! 😀 Looks like they can’t even build a fucking high speed rail link!)
“Maybe you can build a ‘spaceport’ at Pinewood studios and we’ll let you pretend! 😀
“Even Kazakhstan has a spaceport!” ;D
Known as Bereshit, the project is a joint endeavor of SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.
Fly me to the moon and
Let me play among those stars
Let me see what spring is like on
Jupiter and Mars
This is the beginning of a love song recorded by Frank Sinatra well over half a century ago. For Israel, it may become more than a song and a dream in just a few days’ time.
Dreamers donors and partners in Israel’s effort to send a spacecraft to the moon met with President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence on Sunday morning to present him with a copy of a minute time capsule disc that if all goes according to plan will be deposited on the moon together with an Israeli flag by an unmanned spacecraft that is being launched this week from aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Known as Bereshit, the project is a joint endeavor of SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, but would in all likelihood never have gotten off the ground without the financial input of people such as billionaire philanthropist and SpaceIL President Morris Kahn, who told Rivlin that if successful, Israel will be only the fourth nation in the world to land a spacecraft on the moon after Russia, USA, and China.
The first moon landing was the Soviet Union’s Luna 2 mission in September, 1959. Almost ten years later, in July, 1969, America’s Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the moon with space pioneers Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
In January this year, China succeeded in landing a robot spacecraft on the far side of the moon.
Now, it’s Israel’s turn.
Characterizing the project as “an example of Israeli ingenuity,” a beaming Kahn said that while Russia, America and China have invested billions of dollars in their efforts to land on the moon, Israel has invested considerably less – a total of around $100 million. Kahn neglected to say that he had contributed %40 million of that amount, but paid tribute to fellow philanthropist Sami Sagol, who was also present and has likewise been generous in his financial support of the project. Other key donors have included Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lyn Shusterman, Harvey and Gloria Kaylie, the Parasol Foundation Trust, Steven and Nancy Grant, and Sylvan Adams.
Kahn said that the Israeli spacecraft will spend approximately four months in space once it lands on the moon.
The disc that he presented to Rivlin was “a symbolic gift” he said, containing Holocaust testimony, inscriptions from the people of Israel, a copy of the Old Testament and songs of Israel.
If successful, the project will take Israel industry to yet another level and Israel Aircraft Industries into space said Kahn, adding that it will give Israelis a sense of pride. “This is our gift to the people of Israel.” Rivlin was also presented with the navy and white windbreaker with the insignia of Space IL and IAI as well as the national flag.
“We are already in space” said IAI CEO Nimrod Shefer, adding that it was only natural for IAI to partner with Space IL. “This is an example of what it happening in Israel and what can take us to greater heights.”
“When we started this almost a decade ago, we didn’t imagine where it would take us ” said Yonatan Winetraub, a co-founder of Space IL . “The disc contains not only all that Morris said, but also the dreams of all those involved. ”
Rivlin said that these are very special days for the State of Israel. When he was a boy, he recalled, Israel produced its first bubble gum, Bazooka, which came in a wrapper that contained a message in a similar manner to Chinese fortune cookies. The message was “by the time you’re 21, we’ll be on the moon.”
It took a little longer than that, and Rivlin admitted that he did not know “what we’ll do there.” But taking his cue from Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team, which in 1977 won the World Cup defeating the Soviet Union’s CSKA, Rivlin quoted star player Tal Brody who joyfully pronounced “we’re on the map and we’ll stay on the map.”
Using that analogy, Rivlin said that he was hopeful that in a relatively shorty time, Israelis will be able to say ‘we’re on the moon and we’ll stay on the moon.”
He also noted that both Kahn and Sagol are men of vision, whose visions have always been realized.
The State of Israel not only has a global reputation for innovation he said, but IAI has partners all over the world. “So many people see Israel as a strategic partner in everything to do with space.”
Rivlin said he was delighted that the project was not only a technological accomplishment but also an educational inspiration which is bound to influence more students to opt for technological studies.
It’s not always easy to get philanthropists who support the weaker sectors of society to contribute to a dream, Rivlin commented, but he was vey glad that they had contributed to something that will do so much to boost Israel’s image.
Unlike Russia, America and China, Israel’s ascent to the moon is privately funded, with minimal input from the state.
Recently, an Israeli robotic probe called Beresheet, Hebrew for “In the beginning,” made the first leg of its journey to the moon on a flight from Israel to Florida. Beresheet, if it reaches the moon and fulfills its mission, will be as history changing in its own, small way as the Apollo moon landing.
The six-foot lander is carrying a NASA laser reflector and “a time-capsule of cultural and historical Israeli artifacts,” according to Space.com.
Beresheet’s journey to the moon, due to start in mid-February, will be a long one. Once in space, over a period of some weeks, it will slowly raise its orbit around the Earth until it is captured by the moon’s gravity field. Then the robotic lander will slowly lower its orbit around the moon until, hopefully, it lands on the Sea of Serenity.
Once on the lunar surface, Beresheet will take videos and still images and the magnetic field readings. After a few days, because the lander was not designed to last very long in the lunar day, Beresheet’s mission will end.
Beresheet would not only be Israel’s first deep-space science mission, it will be the first probe designed and built by a private group to land on the moon. SpaceIL was one of the finalists in the now defunct Google Lunar XPrize contest. If all goes well, the small group of Israeli engineers will have won the glory if not the monetary prize of the first private moon race.
Originally, the Beresheet mission was envisioned to create what SpaceIL called an “Apollo effect,” to inspire Israeli youth to pursue STEM education and to stimulate Israeli technology businesses. According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s Aerospace Industries has formed an agreement with the German space company OHB System AG to build lunar landers based on the Beresheet for the European Space Agency. The first such Israeli-built lunar lander may be used for the envisioned European voyage to the moon to test mining technologies.
A successful moon landing will solidify Israel as a technological power in its own right and a player on the world stage with strength and influence far beyond its small size.
Israel is already becoming a hotbed of technological innovation. The term “startup nation” was coined by a book by Dan Senor and Dan Singer that described how Israel has become a Silicon Valley in the Middle East. Israel becoming a space power will magnify that phenomenon in ways that are difficult to predict.
World Affairs Journal noted that a clandestine alliance has developed between Israel and the Sunni Arab world. Progress has been slow since decades of mutual animosity are difficult to overcome. The two factors driving this Middle East détente are mutual fear of Iran and the Arab states’ desire to base their economies on technology instead of oil. Israeli technological acumen combined with Arab oil money could be potent.
Space has become an area of interest in the Arab world. The U.A.E., for example, has formed an astronaut corps and is working on a robotic mission to Mars, An Arab-Israeli space program could do great things, not the least of which would be furthering Middle East peace.
Mark Whittington is the author of space exploration studies “Why is It So Hard to Go Back to the Moon? as well as “The Moon, Mars and Beyond.”