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(photo credit: IAI [file])
Space IL, an Israeli nonprofit, are in the advanced stages of launching the first Israeli lunar aircraft into space.
Although Israel has sent astronauts into space, this would be the first ever lunar aircraft created, controlled and launched by Israel.
The company is currently testing the ability of the spacecraft to meet standard protocols for environmental conditions in space
The launch will take place in the early stages of 2019.
The spacecraft finished construction a couple weeks back and passed a series of environmental experiments including launch conditions and technological quality assurance.
This week the spacecraft is undergoing temperature and pressure testing to make sure the spacecraft can hold up when launched into orbit.
Space IL recently announced their partnership with NASA on the lunar spacecraft.
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NASA will help improve
surveillance and communication capabilities for the craft during and after lunar the landing.
As a condition of the agreement, a retro-reflector from NASA will be installed on the spacecraft
. The instrument reflects laser beams, that enable NASA to locate the spacecraft anywhere in orbit and after landing.
NASA will also be able to obtain data gathered by the 'magnetometer' installed aboard the craft. The instrument was developed with the Weizmann Institute of Science, and will measure the magnetic field around the landing site.
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), was launched almost a decade ago and currently orbits the moon, which will assist data collection and will capture images of the spacecraft during its landing.
Look for the first lunar landing of an Israeli spacecraft sometime in early 2019.
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