CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — An Israeli spacecraft that will attempt to make the country’s first lunar landing blasted off Thursday night aboard a SpaceX rocket.

A communications satellite for Indonesia was the main cargo aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, which illuminated the sky as it took flight. But Israel’s privately funded lunar lander – a first not just for Israel but commercial space – generated the buzz.

Israel seeks to become only the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after Russia, the U.S. and China. The spacecraft – called Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis or “In The Beginning” – will take nearly two months to reach the moon.

The moon, nearly full and glowing brightly, beckoned as it rose in the eastern sky after liftoff.

“We thought it’s about time for a change, and we want to get little Israel all the way to the moon,” said Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of Israel’s SpaceIL , a nonprofit organization behind the effort.

The four-legged Beresheet, barely the size of a washing machine, will circle Earth in ever bigger loops until it’s captured by lunar gravity and goes into orbit around the moon. Touchdown would be April 11 at the Sea of Serenity.

NASA’s Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s took about three days to get astronauts to the moon, but they used monstrous Saturn V rockets. The $100 million Beresheet mission couldn’t afford its own rocket – even a little one – so the organizers opted for a ride share. That makes for a much longer trip; the moon right now is nearly 230,000 miles away.

“This is Uber-style space exploration, so we’re riding shotgun on the rocket,” Winetraub explained at a news conference on the eve of launch.

The U.S. Air Force also has a small research spacecraft aboard the rocket, for a one-year mission in orbit around Earth.

The Soviet Union was first to put a spacecraft on the moon, Luna 2, in 1959. NASA followed with the Ranger 4 spacecraft in 1962. Last month, China became the first country to land on the far side of the moon.

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