Waiting in line for a hard copy of my ticket at the Kennedy Space Center, I heard a familiar language: Hebrew. Hearing Hebrew again as I walked toward the entrance, that’s when it hit me — Israel is going to the Moon tonight!

I drove 2.5 hours from where I attend school at the University of Florida. On my way to the event, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve never visited the Kennedy Space Center and I have never seen a rocket launch.

Israel shoots for the moon, and ISRAEL21c is there to watch

ISRAEL21c's digital ambassador Erica Kaplan was in Cape Canaveral on Thursday night to watch the launch of SpaceIL's rocket to the moon. Here's what she saw.

Posted by ISRAEL21c on Monday, 25 February 2019

I was amazed by the crowds of people at the Kennedy Space Center. There was a lot of excitement in the air, and even kids playing with rocket toys. Waiting in line to enter the bus I met great people from SpaceIL who have come all the way to Florida to be here to see the launch.

One employee couldn’t believe it was happening. The Israelis I met told me how big of a deal for Israel this event is. They told me how there are parties and events in Israel celebrating this historical moment for the country.

Spectators watching the SpaceIL launch on February 21, 2019 at Cape Canaveral. Photo by Erica Kaplan

When I arrived at the launch-pad viewing site, I was amazed by how close I was to the rocket. The anticipation leading to the launch was exciting. Everyone was getting their phones ready to record history.

I got chills from seeing a group of people wearing the Israeli flag wrapped around their backs.

Witnessing the launch in person was unforgettable — a moment that happened so quickly. After the launch was over I wanted to see it again!

The crowds at Kennedy Space Center witnessing Israel making history. Photo by Erica Kaplan

Spectators watching the SpaceIL launch on February 21, 2019 at Cape Canaveral. Photo by Erica Kaplan[/caption]Watching the rocket fly up to space was like watching the moon and stars. How it looks in person with your eyes can’t compare to how it looks on a camera.

Although the launch lasted seconds, the thrill of being there at the moment where Israel became the fourth country to send a rocket to the Moon will last with me forever. I feel very fortunate and grateful that ISRAEL21c sent me to attend this amazing and historical event.

University of Florida student Erica Kaplan is an ISRAEL21c Digital Ambassador.

If you want to learn more about the Digital Ambassador program, click here. Or contact email rachel@israel21c.org.