A while back we reported on SpaceIL, the Israeli project that aims to put a lander on the moon and claim a $20 million prize. Google has offered the prize for the first spaceship to land on the moon, explore at least 1500 feet of the lunar surface, and send back photos and videos.
This week, the Israeli team had a big announcement: SpaceIL is the first of the 16 competing teams to book space in a rocket ship. It has signed for passage in a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, set to blast off in the second half of 2017.
To date, only the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China have landed a rover on the moon. To compete in the Google contest, entrants can receive no more than a tenth of their funding from government sources. The two major contributors to SpaceIL are the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Family Foundation and Morris Kahn’s Kahn Foundation.