Israel’s government will contribute 20 million shekels, nearly $5.5 million dollars to SpaceIL’s second attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon.
By World Israel News Staff
Israel is doubling its support for the next Beresheet (or, “Genesis”) project, pledging $5.5 million, or NIS 20 million, to the cause of landing a lunar spacecraft on the moon, Israeli Minister of Science, Technology, and Space Ofir Akunis announced on Sunday.
The first Genesis spacecraft, funded by a private donation of nearly $100 million, received government support of NIS 9.5 million ($2.5 million). The Genesis project’s entire budget reached $100 million.
SpaceIL was founded in 2011 with the aim of landing the first Israeli lunar spacecraft. It had been competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE – a $20 million award for the first non-governmental group to reach the moon. The competition deadline ended with no winners on March 31, 2018 despite groups from many nations competing.
Unlike the other finalists, SpaceIL decided to continue.
SpaceIL president and its main investor, Morris Kahn, announced Genesis 2.0 almost immediately after the first Genesis crashed moments before landing as a result of a technical malfunction. The new craft will get off the ground on a smaller budget as it builds on the experience developed in making the first Genesis.
Minister Akunis said at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, “The Genesis project fascinated and united all the citizens of Israel in anticipation of a successful landing on the moon. The tremendous public interest, along with the breakthrough technological achievements, sharpened the need to increase the tremendous mobilization for the success of the project.”