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At RU, engineer to report on Israeli race to the moon

At RU, engineer to report on Israeli race to the moon

An artist’s rendering of the lunar robot that SpaceIL hopes to land on the moon
An artist’s rendering of the lunar robot that SpaceIL hopes to land on the moon

Yonatan Winetraub — one of the Israeli founders of SpaceIL — will report on its efforts to enter the $20 Million Google Lunar XPRIZE competition at programs to be held on Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

SpaceIL is a nonprofit founded in 2010 by three Israeli engineers intent on entering the GLXP competition, an international race to the moon directed to nongovernmental groups. 

Invited to the campus by Rutgers Hillel Center for Israel Engagement, the programs are cosponsored by the Rutgers Honors College and Dr. Lynne B Harrison, chair of the U.S. board of SpaceIL and are presented under the patronage of the Consulate General of Israel in New York and the New Jersey-Israel Commission.

“Innovation: The Way to the Moon,” a technical seminar for engineers, science faculty, and students, will be at 4 p.m. at the Rutgers Honor College. The public session, “Taking Israel to the Moon and Beyond,” will take place at 7 p.m. at New Brunswick Theological Seminary and will include the challenges faced by the designers, an overview of the project’s mission status, and its educational vision. 

In October, SpaceIL signed a launch agreement for a private mission to the moon on a SpaceX Falcon 9, becoming the first Lunar XPRIZE team to produce a verified launch contract. To win, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the moon’s surface — before Dec. 31, 2017 — that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to earth. The first team to successfully complete the mission will be awarded $20 million.

According to SpaceIL CEO Eran Privman, “Only global superpowers with billion-dollar space programs — the United States, Russia, and China — have ‘soft-landed’ a rover on the surface of the moon. SpaceIL intends to show the world that this same accomplishment can be achieved on a relatively small budget, and that any group, small country, or university can get involved in space exploration.” 

Should SpaceIL win the competition, said Harrison, “it is committed to using the prize money to promote science and scientific education in Israel to ensure that it will continue to live up to its reputation for excellence in these fields.”

For information, contact Barbara Josephs Cohen at

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