Engineers of SpaceIL and the Israel Aerospace Industries celebrate the successfull Lunar Capture maneuver.
(photo credit: ELIRAN AVITAL)
Beresheet, the Space IL spacecraft scheduled to land on the moon April 11, successfully completed it's most critical maneuver on Thursday afternoon.
The maneuver, termed Lunar Capture, was a significant moment in the module's journey to the moon, as it exited the earth gravitational pull and entered the moon's orbit.
With the success of Lunar Capture, Israel has become the seventh country to enter the moon's orbit.
Although the maneuver looked like it successfully completed the mission, engineers from Space IL and the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)
said that it will take several hours to definitively confirm Beresheet's new path.
The spacecraft has now been captured by the moon's gravity and will begin circling it. Together, the moon and Beresheet will orbit the earth.
Until today, the spacecraft has been traveling on the Earth's orbit, and at the beginning of this week reached the closest point to the planet, only 1,700 kilometers away, before continuing it's path to the landing point on he moon, about 400,000 km away.
Watch the successful maneuver below.
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