Israel's SpaceIL announced on Sunday that it has completed raising $70 million from investors for a second attempt at landing on the Moon after its Beresheet spacecraft crashed on the lunar surface in April of 2019.
The launch of Beresheet 2, scheduled for 2024, appears to be closer to reality with the cash infusion as the total cost for the second mission is estimated at $100 million, the startup said.
The non-profit is the first private organization and Israel is the seventh country in the world to successfully complete a lunar orbit. Israel is also the fourth country after the United States, China and the former Soviet Union to attempt a soft landing on the Moon.
Beresheet 2 will include three spacecraft — the mothercraft which will stay in space and two landers given different missions on the Moon. The mother craft will continue orbiting the moon for five years.
The company said that several records would be broken, including a double landing on the Moon in a single mission. Also, one of the landers aims to land on the far side of the Moon, which only China has achieved so far.
The financing was raised from Patrick Drahi, from the Patrick and Lina Drahi Foundation; Morris Kahn and the Kahn Foundation, which also backed the first Beresheet mission; and the Moshal Space Foundation, in partnership with Entrée Capital.
Kahn, who serves as SpaceIL chairman, said, "the Beresheet project is my life’s mission, so I decided to take it up again. I plan to do everything that I can to take Israel back to the Moon, this time for a historic double landing."