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First private Israeli lunar mission will launch in February

It had been planned to launch this month.

An Israeli company says it has pushed back the launch of what it hopes will be the first private spacecraft to land on the moon.

Officials from SpaceIL and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries told reporters that the landing craft, dubbed Beresheet – or Genesis, will travel in February to Florida, where, propelled by a SpaceX Falcon rocket launch, it will commence its months-long voyage to the moon.

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A time capsule that will go inside the SpaceIL lunar module (Ariel Schalit/AP)

It had been planned to launch this month.

Israel Aerospace Industries manager Opher Doron stressed that the small craft, about the size of a washing machine, faces a “difficult, arduous journey” because it will have to make a number of orbits before landing.

If successful, the team promises the landing will be a breakthrough for Israeli technology and commercial space travel.

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