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Israeli company launches spacecraft to the moon

An Israeli organisation announced its plans Tuesday to launch the country's first spacecraft to the moon in December.

The unmanned spacecraft, weighing some 1,300 pounds at launch, will land on the moon on February 13, 2019, SpaceIL told a news conference in Yehud, central Israel.

The vessel will be launched via a rocket from American entrepreneur Elon Musk's SpaceX firm and its mission will include research on the moon's magnetic field. Its first task, will be to plant an Israeli flag on the moon, organisers said.

Three young Israeli scientists, who formed SpaceIL and partnered with state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, received financial support from Morris Kahn, a South African-born Israeli billionaire.

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