SpaceIL, which is aiming to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon, has received a $16.4 million donation from Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam.
The nonprofit organization is one of 32 teams from around the world taking part in the prestigious Google Lunar X (GLXP) competition, and is widely considered a favorite to win the $20 million prize.
SpaceIL was founded at the end of 2010 by three young engineers and now employs 20 full-time employees, 250 volunteers, and a network of hundreds of renowned academics, industry experts, and business leaders.
The team is building the world’s smallest spacecraft, around the size of a dishwasher. The estimated cost of building and launching the rocket is about $36 million.
Aside from landing on the moon, SpaceIL hopes to excite and inspire a new generation of youngsters, getting them involved in science, technology, math and engineering at a young age.
“Sheldon and I are very excited to be supporting SpaceIL in an effort to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. As an Israeli-born physician and scientist, I am especially proud of the positive impact the pursuit of this goal will have on the next generation of young Israelis, and frankly all young people, as it serves an important example of the role science and technology continue to play in our everyday lives and across the world,” said Dr. Miriam Adelson.
SpaceIL is the only organization in the competition to be a non profit. Aside from the latest donation, the initiative is also supported by Morris Kahn, and the Schusterman Family Foundation, Israel Aerospace Industries, Israel Space Agency, Bezeq, Tel Aviv University, and the Weizmann Institute.
“As an entrepreneur, nothing is as thrilling as supporting a group of people who have been told that their dreams cannot be realized. For a group of scientists and engineers, in one of the world’s smallest countries, to be able to reach such an accomplishment is incredible. We are proud to support Israel and SpaceIL prove that dreams do come true and that hard work, vision, and dedication are rewarded. We stand proudly with SpaceIL in this extraordinary endeavor,” said Adelson.
“We are delighted to have the Adelson family support us in our venture and join our community of supporters all over the world,” said Daniel Saat, director of business development at SpaceIL.
“We are now closer to the moon than ever before and we hope that everyone will join us for the ride,” SpaceIL founder Kfir Damari told ISRAEL21c.
For more information: www.spaceil.com