SpaceIL is backed mainly by private donors, including USA casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and billionaire Morris Kahn who co-founded Amdocs, one of Israel's biggest high-tech companies.
Four other teams are still competing against SpaceIL for the honour of winning the Google Lunar XPrize - Moon Express from the US, Team Indus from India, Hakuto from Japan, and Synergy Moon, an global group. The people at SpaceIL aren't letting that stop them from completing the lunar journey. The spaceship will be sent to the Cape Canaveral in the USA for its launch a month before that and is scheduled to land on the Moon on February 13, 2019.
The $95 million project, largely funded by South African-Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and other donors, aims to land on the moon on February 13.
The research, conducted in cooperation with scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, will use a magnetometer on the spacecraft to attempt to understand how the rocks on the moon received their magnetism. It will take about two months for the spacecraft to reach its destination after launch.
The dainty spacecraft is just about 5 feet (1.5 meters) high and weighs 1,322 pounds (600 kilograms).
The entire endeavour began roughly seven years ago when SpaceIL joined a Google technology contest to land a small, unmanned probed on the moon.
Once it touches down on the moon, the spacecraft will use its cameras to take photos and video of the lunar surface.
It aims to transmit pictures and videos back to earth over two days after it lands on February 13 as well as measuring magnetic fields. If it passes, it will head into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida, as a secondary payload along with satellites on a SpaceX rocket.
SpaceIL and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries plan to launch their unmanned craft in December hoping to become the first non-governmental entity to land a spacecraft on the moon.
Along with Kahn, the Israeli Space Agency and USA megadonor casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson are funding SpaceIL.