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2017 in space: the chairman of the space agency is optimistic about the communication satellite program and the SpaceIL project

In an interview with the Hidan website, Prof. Yitzhak Ben Israel explains that the allocation for building a communication satellite every four years will be implemented already in the 2018 budget and the SpaceIL association will not close

Prof. Yitzhak Ben Israel. PR photo
Prof. Yitzhak Ben Israel. PR photo

"The allocation for building a communication satellite every four years will be implemented already in the 2018 budget and the SpaceIL association will not close." This is what the chairman of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Science, Prof. Yitzhak Ben Israel, promises.

The most prominent event of the year took place before it began, but the ink continued to accompany us throughout 2017: the burning of the Amos 6 satellite during preparations for launch by SpaceX in the USA. A committee headed by the head of the Ministry of Science, Peretz Vozan, was established
which submitted its recommendations at the end of the previous year. This year, most of it was dedicated to government headquarters work to approve the committee's recommendations. The main conclusions are quite clear - that the field of communication should be determined as a field of national interest for Israel - to date only the field of observation satellites has been defined as such. In order to realize the announcement, a minimum of activity in the field of communication satellites financed by the state must be established - a communication satellite every four years. For this the budgets invested in the communication satellites had to increase - also the budgets of the Space Agency in the Ministry of Science but also of other partners such as the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Finance because the budgets of the ministries were not enough. The work of the headquarters has been done, it will be approved by the National Security Headquarters and is about to be approved these days in the budget discussions. As it stands today - it will be approved."

Abroad, a number of astronomical events can be noted this year, such as additional discoveries of gravitational waves, as well as the asteroid from another solar system, which has some properties that raise the suspicion that it is at least not an asteroid, but more than that, perhaps something sent from another solar system, and there is a lot of research and a lot of focus on this to try to confirm or refute. A lot of material was collected from it. A very interesting event because it has some unusual properties - that it is stabilized - rotating around itself. It is, in any case, a very interesting event."

"Satellite and spacecraft events of the year? Can't remember anything unusual, the world didn't land a new spacecraft on the moon. The most important decision was the decision of the American president who set a goal for American space activity to land on the moon again as a springboard to Mars, which would have an impact on space activity in the world. and the continuation of the usual trends in space. The success of SpaceX this year is also a success that does not have a scientific or technological effect, but it emphasizes the New Space trend, the main of which is the transfer of tasks carried out by countries to private industry. Until today, space was only the business of governments, who did finance the construction of spaceships and rockets in the industry, but everything was owned by them and within the framework of government programs.

"In Israel, we can mention the launch of Dokifat 2, which is the second time that a high school has built and launched a satellite. It was in the framework of a competition by the European Space Agency, which planned to launch 48 nano-satellites, of which only 24 reached the launch. Out of the 24, only 14 were employees and out of the 14 that work there are only 4 who fulfill their mishima. One of these four is Dokifat 2 launched by an association of schools in Israel whose mission is to measure the plasma density in the lower stratosphere, and it is a high school - not a university, not an industry, which is a particularly beautiful Israeli achievement in the educational field."

What about SpaceIL? Were there reports of an intention to dissolve the association?

“SpaceIL will not break up. It is an association. It's kind of a startup. When a startup raises money, the first money is almost never enough, then a second and third round and usually materializes after a third round. This is an association with different laws and the law says that if you don't have money below a certain line you have to dissolve the association. The association has reached a situation where it has more money, but it is not allowed to invest it because it has to think about the future. It could fall apart if you don't raise another 10 million dollars, there is an effort by Space AL including the donors and the government to try to find this amount. SpaceIL will get the amount and land on the moon, it happens to be in the seventieth year for the country and Israel will be the fourth country to land on the moon."

See more on the topics that came up in the interview on the science website:

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