At 9:00 AM Israel Time yesterday (2:00 AM ET), Beresheet, the Israeli spacecraft that is making its way to the moon, successfully completed another maneuver to make final adjustments before leaving Earth’s orbit and joining the moon’s orbit. In the maneuver, SpaceIL and IAI engineering teams started and ran the spacecraft’s engines for 72 seconds. The teams are assessing the results to determine if another alignment will be required before Beresheet enters the lunar orbit this Thursday.
When Beresheet enters the moon’s orbit, it will perform lunar capture, a complex maneuver to enter the moon’s gravity and begin orbiting the moon before its planned landing this month. SpaceIL and IAI are now preparing for the lunar capture by practicing several scenarios, simulations and in-depth tests in the hybrid lab. The lunar capture will be accessible for media coverage. Additional details to follow.
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Also yesterday at noon Israel time, Beresheet passed Earth, at about 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) for the last time. The engineering teams succeeded in taking a rare photo of Earth from a distance of about 16,000 kilometers (9,941 miles).