Israel's Beresheet enters lunar orbit, becomes 7th nation to achieve feat

The moon from 550 kilometers away as taken by Beresheet April 7th 2019

The moon from 550 kilometers away as taken by Beresheet April 7th 2019

An artist's conception of SpaceIL's Beresheet lunar lander.

Beresheet - Israel's historic spacecraft, which entered lunar orbit yesterday on its journey to the moon - is on an "excellent" track, according to data from the SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineering teams at their control room in Yehud, Israel.

It completed its first successful maneuver early Sunday morning when Beresheet's engine operated for 271 seconds and burned 55 kg fuel while reducing the Apolune from 10,400 km to 750 km from the moon. Israel is the seventh nation in the world to successfully enter the moon's orbit.

The Beresheet, which means Genesis in Hebrew, also would be the smallest spacecraft ever to reach the moon. Doing so entails a complicated maneuver in which the spacecraft must hop from earth's orbit to the moon's - as seen below in a demonstration video released by SpaceIL.

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Israel's spacecraft Beresheet has successfully entered the moon's orbit after a month-and-a-half in transit and will now adjust its orbit in order to prepare for landing on the lunar surface on April 11.

Israel would become the fourth country after the United States, the Soviet Union and China to make a soft landing on the moon.

The craft also carries a time capsule that contains digital files of the Bible, children's drawings, Israeli folk songs, the recorded memories of a Holocaust survivor, and the Israeli flag.

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