Israel seen from space. (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Israel space

Israel and NASA signed an agreement to increase cooperation during a visit to the Jewish state by NASA’s new chief, Jim Bridenstine.


NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) signed an agreement to expand cooperation between the two agencies on Thursday, during a visit from newly appointed NASA Chief Jim Bridenstine.

Earlier, Bridenstine met with ISA Director General Avi Blasberger, as well as Science and Space Minister Ofir Akunis in Jerusalem, where NASA’s Director expressed the United State’s plans to return to the moon and to create a permanent base there, in accordance with President Donald Trump’s vision.

The projects discussed between the two agencies include a role for Israel in the International Space Station, as well as nano-satellite-related initiatives – a field in which Israel has extensive knowledge.

“The agreement signed today symbolizes our mutual interest in building our scientific and technological capabilities in the field of space [exploration],” said Science and Space Minister Akunis, adding that the fact that the Director of NASA chose Israel as the location for  his first foreign visit as Director “says a lot about the strong alliance between the two countries and the great appreciation [the US] has for Israel’s amazing technological technical capabilities, even in the field of space exploration.”

On Tuesday, SpaceIL, an Israeli NGO, announced that it will send an unmanned spacecraft to the moon before the end of the year. The spacecraft is set to be launched using Elon Musk’s private aerospace company SpaceX, with a launch scheduled for December.

The spacecraft, which will be the smallest to ever land on the moon is expected to arrive on February 13, 2019, roughly two months after leaving earth, making Israel the fourth country to ever land a spacecraft on the moon, following Russia, the United States and China.