The Latest: Israel flying to moon after SpaceX launch

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2018 file photo, technicians stand next to the SpaceIL lunar module, an unmanned spacecraft, on display in a special clean room during a press tour of their facility near Tel Aviv, Israel. SpaceIL and the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries plan to launch the lunar lander on a SpaceX Falcon rocket Thursday night, Feb. 21, 2019, from Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The Latest on Thursday night's SpaceX launch carrying Israel's privately funded lunar lander (all times local):

8:45 p.m.

Israel is on its way to the moon, following a dramatic nighttime launch by SpaceX.

The Falcon 9 rocket blasted off late Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The rocket is carrying three separate spacecraft, most notably Israel's privately funded lunar lander. It's a first not just for Israel but for commercial space.

Israel seeks to become only the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after Russia, the U.S. and China. It will take the four-legged lander nearly two months to reach the moon. If all goes well, touchdown would be April 11.

The lander is called Beresheet, Hebrew for Genesis or "In the Beginning."

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12:40 p.m.

Israel aims to land on the moon after hitching a ride with SpaceX.

The Falcon rocket is scheduled to blast off Thursday night from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A communications satellite for Indonesia is the main cargo. But Israel's privately funded lunar lander — a first not just for Israel but commercial space — is generating 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.

It 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.

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