Israeli spacecraft circles Earth

The Israeli spacecraft Beresheet has been circling the Earth on its way to the moon.

The unmanned mission is to make Israel the fourth country to reach the moon, after Russia, the United States and China. The lunar lander is expected to touch down on the moon in early to mid-April.

Illustration of what the Israeli lunar lander will look like on the moon, after taking off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Feb. 21, 2019.

On Feb. 24, Beresheet’s main engine was fired for the first time at a distance of 69,400 kilometers from Earth. The planned maneuver by SpaceIL and the Israel Aeronautics Industry engineering team took into account the problems that were identified in the ship’s star trackers after launch, according to a statement by SpaceIL, a non-profit organization.

The engine burn moves the spacecraft farther from the earth and closer to the moon. It will travel around Earth in progressively larger orbits, eventually entering the moon’s orbit and touching down for a landing there.

To track the ship’s progress, visit http://live.spaceil.com/.