This article needs to be updated.(May 2018)
SpaceIL is an Israeli nonprofit organization, established in 2011, that was competing in the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP) to land a spacecraft on the Moon. The contest declared no winner, but SpaceIL still aims to launch the spacecraft. Its total budget is estimated at US$70 million, provided mainly by philanthropists.
SpaceIL's entry is unique among GLXP contenders, in that instead of building a tracked or wheeled rover, SpaceIL plans to meet the requirement to travel 500 meters on the lunar surface by having the lander "hop" from its landing site to another site 500 meters away using rocket propulsion.
SpaceIL team was formed as a nonprofit organization wishing to promote scientific and technological education in Israel. The founders of the team stated that if they had won the competition, the money would have been donated to educational purposes. SpaceIL has over 200 members, 95% of them are volunteers. By 2017, SpaceIL volunteers reached over 250,000 pupils all around Israel.
Founders and supporters
The founders of the team are: Yariv Bash, former electronics and computer engineer in the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and currently Flytrex CEO; Kfir Damari, a Computer Networking lecturer; and Yonatan Winetraub, formerly a satellite systems engineer at Israel Aerospace Industries, and currently a biophysics PhD Candidate at Stanford. Eran Privman is the CEO of SpaceIL. Morris Kahn is the Chairman of the board and a major donor to the organization. The team is supported by Israel Space Agency, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Systems and Elbit Systems. SpaceIL is also supported by educational institutions, including the Technion, Tel Aviv University, Weizmann Institute of Science and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Prior to this, in early 2015, Google had announced that the deadline for winning the prize would be extended to December 2017 if at least one team can show a verified launch contract by December 31, 2015. GLXP officials announced that the SpaceIL contract met the requirements and the incentive prize contest would continue through the end of 2017.
By June 2017, the spacecraft was undergoing integration and testing. On November 2017, SpaceIL announced they need $30M to finish the project. Morris Kahn resigned from chairing the board, and promised $10M if the organization can raise the additional $20M.
In January 2018, the X Prize Foundation announced that the competition deadline will not be extended beyond 31 March 2018. SpaceIL has announced that it will continue to raise funds in order to reach the Moon by the end of 2018.
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