Oct. 3, 2018

New agreement utilizes the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL’s private lunar mission expected to land on the moon in 2019

BREMEN, GERMANY, OCT 3 — NASA has signed an agreement with the Israel Space Agency (ISA) to cooperatively utilize the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL’s commercial lunar mission, expected to land on the moon in 2019.

As a part of the agreement, a retro-reflector from NASA will be installed on the spacecraft. This instrument reflects laser beams, which will enable NASA to precisely locate the spacecraft on the lunar surface after the landing. Also, NASA will grant SpaceIL access to its Deep Space Network communication services, which many ongoing deep space missions use. The Deep Space Network is based on very large antennas in three sites around the globe, which will improve the communication of the spacecraft with the Earth.

Also under the agreement, NASA will have access to data gathered by the magnetometer installed aboard the spacecraft. The instrument, which was developed in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science, will measure the magnetic field on and above the landing site. In addition, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which was launched almost a decade ago and currently orbits the Moon, will try to capture images of the Israeli spacecraft during its landing.

The agreement was signed by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Mr. Avi Blasberger, Director of the Israel Space Agency in the presence of Dr. Ido Anteby, CEO of SpaceIL;

“I’m thrilled to extend progress in commercial cooperation we’ve made in low-Earth orbit to the lunar environment with this new agreement with the Israel Space Agency and SpaceIL,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Innovative partnerships like this are going to be essential as we go forward to the Moon and create new opportunities there.”

SpaceIL competed in the Google Lunar XPRIZE and continues to work toward landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. Together, NASA and SpaceIL will collaborate on analyzing the scientific data returned from the mission.

The agreement exemplifies the innovative approach that NASA and its international partners are taking to find ways to team with commercial partners to advance important science and exploration objectives on and around the Moon.

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