Aside from being the first private lander to be sent to the Moon, the machine called Beresheet - In the Beginning, in Hebrew - will also be Israel's first major mission beyond Earth.
Once in Earth orbit, it will circle the planet three times and it will do two orbits of the Moon before it lands at its destination. It will take Beresheet at least two months to reach its destination.
The landing site chosen by SpaceIL is located within Mare Serenitatis in the Moon’s northern hemisphere. This location was chosen because of its magnetic anomalies, which the company plans to investigate using Beresheet’s magnetometer.
The lander is the size of a dishwasher. It has the capability of moving around on the lunar surface by hopping.
"After eight years of hard work, our dream has come true: We finally have a spacecraft," said in a statement Ido Anteby, SpaceIL CEO.
"Shipping the spacecraft to the United States is the first stage of a complicated and historic journey to the moon. This is the first of many exciting moments, as we look forward to the forthcoming launch in Cape Canaveral."
SpaceIL is a competitor in Google’s Lunar XPrize competition entered by five teams fighting against one another. The goal was to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration.
The other teams competing for the Google competition are Moon Express, Synergy Moon, Teamindus, and Hakuto.