Wednesday, 20 February 2019 Israel is heading to the moon. And if it’s successful, the small nation of about 9 million will only be the fourth to successfully deliver a robotic lander to the lunar surface — after the heavyweights of China, Russia and the United States. The mission has been long and the road arduous for Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL, which has, in some iteration or another, been working on the concept of a lunar lander for nearly a decade. Now, that work culminates Thursday when a SpaceX Falcon 9 is scheduled to launch from complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with SpaceIL’s lander in tow. There is a 32-minute nighttime launch window.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Florida carrying Israel's first lunar lander on a mission that, if successful, will make the Jewish state only the fourth nation ever to achieve a controlled touchdown on the moon's surface. Eve Johnson reports.