It’s official: Israeli space company SpaceIL’s lunar lander Beresheet just launched into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this evening, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX confirmed the successful deployment just after 9:30pm EST.
If all goes well, the dishwasher-sized spacecraft will be the first private spacecraft to ever reach the lunar surface.
A Long Way to Go
SpaceIL is planning for the spacecraft, which is called the Beresheet, to land in April after slowly expanding its elliptical path around the Earth until it’s close enough to the Moon. It will circle the Moon several times before making its way down to the surface.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine congratulated the Israeli team. “This is a historic step for all nations and commercial space as we look to extend our collaborations beyond low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon,” he said in a statement.