back to article Israeli lander FOUND ON MOON (in 2017)

SpaceIL has signed a deal to send a lander to the Moon – making the Israeli non-profit the first competitor in Google's $30m Lunar XPrize contest to ink a rocket launch contract. Google's Lunar XPrize will hand out cash to the first team that successfully lands a spacecraft on the Moon in one piece, and completes various tasks …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "can only reach an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit"

    Once you're in Earth orbit, you're halfway to just about anywhere. From geosynchronous orbit It's only a small bit of ΔV to the Moon. As a matter of fact, Huges saved Asiasat 3 by by using a Lunar gravity assist when the Russian Proton booster malfunctioned. It did an Apollo 8 style figure 8 around the Moon.

    1. Brian Catt

      Another 7,000 mph on the 17,500mph isn't trivial, and why the Saturn 5 remains by far the most powerful and heaviest thing we have launched. I suppose , once you have balanced Earth's 1G with centrifugal force, any more must eventually free you from orbit, it depends how long you want that process to take before the Moon starts to pull you off the Earth in passing. Is this wrong, and if so what in the wide world of Newtonian Physics is wrong with it?

  2. Eddy Ito

    although at 140 (earth) kilograms

    Kilograms are a unit of mass not weight. Pounds and kiloponds are a unit of weight not mass. While something on the moon weighs less than on earth its mass doesn't change.

  3. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Google wants a portrait image of the spaceship? What if it's in landscape mode? Does this mean Google won't hand over the $30 mill?

    1. ratfox

      It goes too far

      This selfie craze must be stopped!

    2. Martin Budden

      If the image is in landscape mode they can simply rotate it 90 degrees and say "of course it looks sideways, we landed near the moon's equator not at the north pole".

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Almost obligatory

    I'll catch hell from someone... but Mel Brooks seems somewhat appropriate.

    Jews in Space

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Land anywhere you like

    But don't land on the Golan Heights.

  6. druck Silver badge


    I suspect the mechanism by which the lander moves 500m is pretty similar to Zebedee from the Magic Roundabout - come in with quite a bit of vertical and horizontal velocity and use a sprung landing gear to do a massive boing back up and then land for a second time, and may be more - if it was good enough for Philae, why not? But given the far higher gravity on the moon, would this count as a soft landing? I say if it still functions afterwards, then yes.

  7. Anonymous John

    What about the Falcon Heavy test flight? Anyone ready could go in the first half of 2016. I've seen no mention anywhere of its payload, but Musk must surely have chosen one by now.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
  8. Francis Boyle

    On, above, or below the surface of the Moon

    My cunning plan involved going with the third option but the Molemen of the Moon are no longer replying to my messages.

  9. Stevie


    Hopping? Someone has been watching Space 1999 re-runs.

  10. imanidiot Silver badge

    Good luck to them

    I hope they can succeed.

  11. Martin Budden

    Eran Privman, CEO of SpaceIL, explained to The Register that SpaceX was pretty much the only game in town. SpaceIL was well advanced in negotiations with the Russians, but pulled out following the Ukraine crisis because the lander has so many American components that the organization feared embargo problems. SpaceIL spoke to Indian and European companies, but only SpaceX was prepared to take the weight of fuel they needed with budget. Even then it took a year to reach a workable solution.

    As if rocket engineering wasn't hard enough already, stoopid bloody politics makes it even harder still.

  12. DocJames


    So you give a shortened list of the 16 candidates. Fair enough - journalistic preference, keep the article punchy... but you shorten the list by 2. A list that's only 12.5% shorter doesn't really seem worthwhile, so who are the additional candidates and why wasn't it worth including them? If they're joke candidates they should be included (at least on El Reg) for the enjoyment of readers; if they're the usual suspects I can't think of them (and have no idea why Kevin Spacey wants to go to the moon, beyond nominative determinism).

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