Beresheet, meaning Genesis, will be launched just before 4am on Friday. Image supplied.

DURBAN - On Friday just before 4am, Israel will launch it first rocket - Beresheet, which means Genesis - to the moon. 

The small country will be joining superpowers Russia, USA and China in being one of the first to land on the moon.

Beresheet is the result of a private initiative supported by the Israel Space Agency and NASA. It was developed and constructed at a cost of $100 million, compared to billions of dollars used in similar projects.

"SpaceIL, a non-profit, was established in 2011 with the aim of landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. Leveraging Israeli expertise in mini-satellite technologies, SpaceIL is applying the know-how garnered for defence to a new purpose: space exploration, seeking to build the smallest, smartest and most efficient spacecraft to ever land on the moon," said the Israeli Embassy via a press statement on Thursday.  

In comparison to the other superpowers like Russia and the United States, which have populations of 144 million and 325 million respectively, Israel is a tiny nation the size of the Kruger National Park, with a population of nine million people. 

Also referred to as the “Start Up Nation,” Israel is known for utilising limited resources creatively, strategically and withe innovation, said the embassy. 

"[Israel] is intent on breaking pre-conceived barriers regarding what is possible in space exploration. Israel's dominance in the space industry also has the potential to become an important growth engine for the Israeli economy."

SpaceIL’s participation in the moon race provides unique opportunities not only for technological development and for furthering STEM education, but also for scientific research. Together with their partners at the Weizmann Institute of Science, they are breaking new ground in science by including measurements on the moon’s surface, which have never been taken before, said the embassy.  

To watch the rocket launch live, go to: https://www.spacex.com/webcast

African News Agency (ANA)