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Israel shooting the moon: First lunar vessel under construction

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Itongadol.- President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday hosted the members of SpaceIL, a non-profit organization building the first Israeli vessel to be launched to the moon.

President Rivlin said he was excited: "I remember as a child, the greeting that appeared on gum wrappers, \’by the time you turn 21 you will reach the moon\’. At the time it seemed impossible, but you have turned it into a reality. For hundreds of thousands of students who have already been exposed to your project and millions who have yet to be exposed to it, your company is a model of courage, success, and a vision of Israeli innovation. I wish you much success."

SpaceIL CEO Eran Privman told Ynet that "the process of building this vessel began two years ago, when I arrived at SpaceIL. The first mission was to put together an engineering team, in cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries (Israel\’s government-owned aerospace company) and other industries we work with, to create an outline for a spaceship that will allow us to reach the moon. That\’s not a trivial task, and we\’re the first group in the competition that has managed to fulfill that goal, and so we could sign a launch contract, which gave us a significant boost, bringing us to this.”

Privman explained the steps to come: "The next step is begin the production of the vessel – its structure, fuel tanks, and simultaneously the electronics which is mostly ready, and to adjust the planning to the launcher from which we have a contract to launch. The large majority of the vessel is a a rocket propulsion system which will help go all the way to the moon, and there are also a mission computer, radios, cameras and sensors that will enable the landing on the moon itself."

SpaceIL is a non-profit organization, established in 2011 that aims to land the first Israeli vessel on the moon, thereby inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. The organization was founded by three young engineers who responded to the challenge of the global Google Lunar X Prize competition, which will end in 2017.

Besides the moon landing, SpaceIL\’s educational vision is to create a new Israeli "Apollo effect": to encourage the next generation in Israel and around the world to choose the fields of science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Despite its technological excellence, Israel is currently facing an acute shortage of scientists and engineers.

The IDF and the private sector lack the number of scientists and engineers needed to maintain Israel\’s technological advantage and to continue to be considered a “start-up nation”, a leader in high-technology industries.

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