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Kol Israel: Israel is in talks to launch a second astronaut

The Israeli Space Agency has started negotiations with several space agencies, including NASA of course, but also the Chinese Space Agency. The Chairman of the Space Agency, Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, confirmed the remarks on the program "All Talk" this morning on Channel XNUMX.

The late Ilan Ramon on the Columbia shuttle, on flight STS-107. Photo: NASA
The late Ilan Ramon on the Columbia shuttle, on flight STS-107. Photo: NASA

Israel is in talks to launch another Israeli astronaut into space. Our science correspondent, Itay Nebo, learned that the Israeli Space Agency is in advanced talks with several space agencies, about sending another astronaut in the coming years, most likely to the International Space Station. The contacts with the USA on the matter opened about a year ago, during the visit to Israel of the head of NASA (the American space agency), Charles Bolden, and continued with the visit of an Israeli delegation to China a few months ago, where representatives of the space agency met with representatives of other agencies. Bolden then said in an exclusive interview with Network B that he hopes it will be possible to launch another Israeli astronaut in the coming years.

Since the landing of the space shuttles, about two and a half years ago, the USA has stopped its manned launches into space, and it only sends astronauts to the space station in the Russian "Soyuz" spacecraft. The Americans intend to renew the manned flights in the new "Orion" space vehicle, which should probably enter into operational activity in about three years, as well as in the "Dragon" spacecraft of the Spacex company, which currently operates supply flights to the space station and is supposed to switch to flying astronauts as well. In addition to the US, Israel is also in talks with the European Space Agency and the Russian Space Agency, which are also partners in the International Space Station.

"Currently, all the flights on the Russian spacecraft to the space station in the next two years are already booked," says the chairman of the Israel Space Agency, Prof. Yitzhak Ben Israel. "It should also be taken into account that the training of an astronaut takes at least two years, so we are talking about launching an astronaut in a time frame of about three years." Ben Yisrael confirmed on the "All Talks" channel that talks are also underway with the Chinese Space Agency, which is not a partner in the International Space Station, and is trying to establish its own space station. "The head of the Chinese space agency contacted us on his own initiative and suggested that we consider adding an Israeli astronaut to their program. In the matter of space, there are no limits to international cooperation." Another issue that has not yet been resolved is the question of funding - training and launching an astronaut is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars. Ben Yisrael expressed hope that the space agency with which Israel will reach an agreement, will bear part of the funding, as was done with the US in Ilan Ramon's flight.

Not just for pilots

As a reminder, Israel has so far launched one astronaut, Ilan Ramon, and he perished with the crew of the shuttle Columbia at the end of his first mission, eleven years ago. Ramon was a fighter pilot, and it was the Air Force that managed the contacts with NASA at the time. Today, says Ben Israel, it is not necessary for an astronaut - or an astronaut - to be a pilot. "Other space agencies, led by the Americans, are sending doctors, engineers, scientists, even teachers. It will be open to all strata of the public, to anyone who meets the age and qualification criteria." He noted that the space agency will select a few candidates for the training process, two or three, to have a backup astronaut in case something goes wrong during the lengthy training. The screenings for the selection of the astronaut, Ben Israel promises, will be opened after an agreement is reached with the launching body.

For the news (and the recording) on ​​the website of Network B

6 תגובות

  1. In my opinion, it is not worth cooperating with the Chinese. Because China is entering an economic "ice age". This is due to political and demographic reasons.

  2. Just as the spacecraft to the moon is financed by donations, so it is possible to finance a space tourist and say that he is a cosmonaut - the first Israeli astronaut.

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