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February 16, 2003

Cooperation between Israeli and American space programs set to increase

This will make you feel good!
Leaders of Israel's space program foresee a tightening of the bond between Israel and the U.S. Space agencies following the Columbia Shuttle disaster which killed the crew's seven members including Israel's first astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's eulogy of Ramon, in which he reiterated both the American and Israeli commitment to sending another Israeli astronaut to space, officially set into motion the next phase in Israel's space program.

"We are already researching experiments for an additional astronaut to conduct on a shuttle," Aby Har Even, Director General of Israel's Space Program told Israel 21c. Following the lead of Israel's space program's founders, Har Even is adamant that an astronaut will only be sent if he is able to add to the mission with a feasible scientific mission.

And despite the gap in budgets, (NASA's annual budget is $15 billion while the annual budget of the Israel Space Program is $1 million.) Har Even said Israel can contribute to NASA's program. [more]