The mission began in earnest in 2009, when founders Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonatan Winetraub registered for Google's Lunar X Prize - a moon race to build and land a commercial lunar spacecraft.
Israel's Beresheet spacecraft makes history tonight when it launches upon its historic mission to the moon.
Beresheet will circle Earth six or seven times in a series of growing ellipses before jumping into the moon's orbit and hopefully landing in the Sea of Tranquility on April 11.
The United States, the former Soviet Union and China are the only three nations to date to have achieved controlled "soft" landings of spacecraft on the lunar surface.
SpaceIL was the only Israeli contestant in the worldwide Google LunarX PRIZE competition, which offered participants a chance to win $20 million by landing an unmanned spacecraft on the moon. Google ended the contest officially on March 31, 2018, with no victor.
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"At SpaceIL we hope that the next generation of engineers and scientists will be able to bring Beresheet back to Earth", the company said.
The public voted on the name Beresheet, which is the Hebrew word for the Book of Genesis and also means "In the beginning".
Upon landing, Beresheet should transmit data from the moon for about two days.
Stored inside is a totem to the nation: a time capsule in the form of three disks containing Israeli artefacts such as its Proclamation of Independence, national songs and drawings by Israeli children.
Space travel is going the way of Uber and the sharing economy, with global space agencies looking to cut costs by using "ride shares" to hitchhike into space on existing commercial launches. The two others are a telecommunications satellite for Indonesia and an experimental satellite for the U.S. Air Force.
A series of future moon landings has already been jointly planned by IAI and German's OHB System on behalf of the European Space Agency.