Upon entering the lunar orbit, the Israeli-based Beresheet Sunday morning successfully carried out the first of a series of maneuvers to slow down and into smaller orbits around the month before attempting to land on April 11 in the Sea of Peace.
On Sunday, all Beresheet engines were involved for 271 seconds, burning 55 kilos of fuel remaining.
The maneuver reduced the distance of the spacecraft from the Moon from 10,400 km (6460 miles) to just 750 kilometers (465 miles). The nearest place in his orbit was 460 kilometers (285 miles) from the surface of the ball.
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For the remaining four days to landing attempts, engineers will conduct several further maneuvers to transform Beresheet's current elliptical orbit into a circular orbit 200 miles (125 miles) from the face of the moon.
On Thursday, Beresheet's engineers still executed the most complex maneuver, a perfectly choreographed cosmic hop that allowed the spacecraft size of the car to jump from orbits around the Earth to the other around the moon, making Israel the seventh country in the world that achieved success.
In order for the aircraft to enter the orbit around the moon, Beresheet had to slow down from 8,500 kilometers per hour (5,280 miles per hour) to 7,500 kilometers per hour (4,660 miles per hour). Even though it still makes it easy for people, according to engineers, this is the orbital equivalent of the brake pedal. Engineers have achieved this by turning the spacecraft so that the engines are pushed in the opposite direction, slowing down the speed.
It took about nine minutes for eight different engines to slowly maneuver the aircraft in the right direction, and less than six minutes for engines to lower the spacecraft to the appropriate speed.
The United States, Russia (as well as the USSR), Japan, China, the European Space Agency, and India visited the Moon through the probe, although only the US, Russia and China successfully dropped into the moon; other probes lost control and hit the surface.
If Israel has successfully landed on April 11, it will be the first time that a privately funded venture has arrived there.
Spacecraft NIS 370 million ($ 100 million) is a joint venture between Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, which is almost entirely funded by private donations of well-known Jewish philanthropists.
"There is a significant chance that we will be discharged," said Opher Doron, General Director of the Division in the Israeli Aerospace Industry. "It's very dangerous and it's hard to predict if we succeed."
Overall, the aircraft has gone nearly 6 million kilometers and still has about half a million to go. This is the slowest and longest trip the spacecraft has made to the moon. The distance from Earth to Moon is approximately 385,000 kilometers.
Using the Earth's and Moon's gravitational attraction and only activating engines at the nearest and far-off ellipse points, engineers could drastically reduce the amount of fuel needed on a spaceship. Fuel still represents most of Beresheet's weight. At launch, the aircraft had a total of 600 kilograms, of which about 440 kilograms (970 pounds) were fuel.
Beresheet, which means "Genesis" in Hebrew, was raised on February 22 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at the top of the Falcon 9 missile from private US space company entrepreneur Elona Muska.
The project was launched as the entry of Israel into Google LunarX challenge for non-governmental groups to land on the moon. Google ended the competition in 2018 without a winner, but the Israeli team decided to continue its efforts privately.
If Beresheet successfully landed on April 11, it is expected that the aircraft will spend two or three days of experimenting by collecting Moon Moon magnetic fields before closure. It will remain there, most likely until the death of the Solar System, on the surface of the moon, connecting about 181,000 kilos (400,000 pounds) to the mass of Earth from the debris created by the man on the Moon's surface.