It’s been a number of weeks since Israel launched a privately-funded mission orbit and then land on Earth’s Moon. Things got off to a bit of a rough start, with the spacecraft experiencing a strange computer glitch that prevented it from completing traveling all the way to lunar orbit on schedule, but it quickly got back on track and is about to perform a Moon landing that we will all get to enjoy.
The spacecraft, called Beresheet, is schedule to begin its landing maneuver at approximately 3:05 p.m. EST today, and you can watch the entire thing live right here.
The YouTube video window below will go live shortly before the actual landing operation is performed, and SpaceIL, the group behind the privately-funded mission, will host the show.
If successful, the mission will result in Israel becoming the fourth country to successfully complete a soft landing on the lunar surface. Only the United States, Russia (U.S.S.R.) and China have accomplished the feat, and the SpaceIL mission will also be the first privately-funded Moon landing in history.
The landing has been a long time coming, with SpaceIL originally being a participant in the Google Lunar XPrize competition which ended unceremoniously after none of the competitors could deliver a landing-capable spacecraft within the extended deadline date.
The mission itself is modest in scope, or at least as modest as it can be considering the difficulties of landing on the Moon in the first place. There are no scientific objectives the lander will have to accomplish once it lands and it’s not carrying a suite of instruments to relay data and information back to Earth. Its life once it arrives on the lunar surface will be short, but if it lands in once piece it will still be a major win for the SpaceIL team and Israel.