The unmanned craft is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Thursday, attached to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
"Successful deployment of the SpaceIL lunar lander confirmed, starting the spacecraft's two-month voyage to the Moon", SpaceX confirmed on Twitter, some 35 minutes after liftoff.
When it arrives, its landing gear must cushion the descent onto the lunar surface to prevent Beresheet from crashing. NASA said that the Lander "Beresheet" was launched at the "SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket" from Cape Carnival Air Force Station on Thursday at 5.45 pm.
The small Israel wants to be the big powers, the US, Russia and China the fourth country that ends up with a space ship on the moon. A direct flight path from Earth to the moon would cover roughly 240,000 miles, but Beresheet will follow a more circuitous route.
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As CNN noted, the first hard landing on the moon came in 1959, when Russian Federation launched Luna 2, which crashed onto the moon; the USA followed with Ranger 4 in 1962.
A communications satellite for Indonesia is the main cargo.
Once launched, the spacecraft will enter a gradually widening Earth orbit that will eventually bring the probe within the moon's gravitational pull, setting the stage for a series of additional maneuvers leading to an automated touchdown.
But it will have just enough time to carry out its primary objectives: plant an Israeli flag on the moon, measure the moon's magnetic field, study surrounding lunar craters, and of course, take some epic lunar selfies. Data will be relayed via the US space agency NASA's Deep Space Network to SpaceIL's Israel-based ground station Yehud. But Israel's privately funded lunar lander - a first not just for Israel but commercial space - generated the buzz. "This is a remarkable thing because we continue to demonstrate our ability to punch far above our weight and to show off our skills, our innovation [and] our creativity in tackling any hard problem that could possibly exist".
The competition was canceled in January 2018 when none of the five teams left in the competition was able to meet the March deadline for a launch. Beresheet carries a "time capsule" loaded with digital files containing a Bible, children's drawings, Israeli songs, memories of a Holocaust survivor and the blue-and-white Israeli flag. It aims to put a craft with a rover onto the Moon's surface to collect data.