Israel will invest NIS 600 million in the development of space technology

Israel plans to spend 600 million shekels over the next five years to support the civilian aerospace industry and support new companies developing advanced technology for the aerospace sector, according to a detailed program presented to the Ministry of Innovation this week by the Israeli Space Agency, Science and Technology.

The plan was presented in the last few years as part of what the ministry called a “dramatic change” in the aerospace industry, as the company moved from the government’s exclusive domain to civilian investors and contractors. The development recently became the world’s first private mission to the International Space Station, featuring three private astronauts, including an Israeli, who paid about $ 50 million for their travel.

Israel’s Bereshit lunar landing mission in 2019, and the second mission scheduled for 2024, are also seen as part of the new civilian aerospace industry.

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Israel is backing a number of promising space technology start-ups, including Helios, which is developing technology capable of producing oxygen for fuel from the lunar soil, and Ramon.Space, a company that builds supercomputing systems for the space sector.

The Israeli space agency’s plan hopes to “increase the power and independence of the state of Israel as one of the world’s leading leaders in the aerospace industry”, use space technology for a growing economy as part of Israel’s technology industry and “improve Israel”. International situation “.

The goals set by the agency include doubling the number of Israeli space agencies from the current 60 to at least 120, quadrupling the number of people employed in the space industry from 2,500 to 10,000, increasing the number of space science researchers in universities and strengthening them. Israel’s presence in international space agencies.

Image of lunar extraction technology developed by Helios, which startup expects to produce oxygen on the moon (Credit: Courtesy)

The plan includes the creation of a national space-based center that will enable the integration and use of space technology “between the activities of the government and other agencies” as announced, and the provision of space access for Israeli entrepreneurs to test. Their technologies include the annual launch of an Israeli satellite into a region of space called the Low Earth Orbit (an orbit relatively close to Earth with an altitude of 200-300km to 1600km).

The initiative also plans to expand the Table program, where high school and high school students participate in space-related projects, such as satellite construction and in collaboration with the SHALOM Satellite Initiative (Spacebourne Hyperspectral Applied Land and Ocean Mission). With Italy, whose commissioning was scheduled for 2021.

Orit Farkash-Hakohen in Tel Aviv, April 27, 2021. (Miriam Ulster / FLASH90)

“The aerospace industry is facing a global revolution,” said Orit Farkash-Hakohen, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, in a statement. The Times of Israel Was able to advise. “There is a lot of economic and business potential for the Israeli economy and for Israel’s high-tech industries. A

Hila Haddad-Chemelnik, director general of the ministry said The Times of Israel That “the global space industry is facing a major revolution. The industry has doubled in size over the past decade and is expected to grow to an estimated $ 1 trillion in the coming years. “

Israel “has serious advantages in this area, especially in the defense sector. Therefore, we must now work to upgrade the civilian space sector and integrate it with the currently emerging Israeli high-tech sector. Strategic plans led by the Israeli Space Agency will help address this challenge.” The space sector is evolving and touching every aspect of our lives – this strategic plan is part of an important process to develop this industry.

Haddad-Chemelnik said space was “going from government to private market and that this represented a huge opportunity for Israel”.

Israel’s space mission

In the last five years, Israelis have been involved in a number of prominent space-related projects.

In 2021, Tel Aviv University staff and students launched a nano-satellite built into Earth orbit, a kind of small satellite for data collection and testing.

In 2017, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) launched a nano-satellite (called BGUSAT) into space to carry out scientific missions for researchers, the result of a five-year project created by BGU, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. And the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.

NSLComm, an Israeli-based space technology start-up that built a space-stretching nano-satellite to increase connectivity, launched its first satellite, NSLSat-1, in 2019 as part of a payload of a Soyuz rocket.

TAU-SAT1, nano-satellite made by Tel Aviv University. (Credit: Tel Aviv University)

Also in 2019, the Israeli spacecraft Bereshit, co-developed by the SpaceIL agency and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), crashed on the moon’s surface, shattering the country’s dream of setting up an Israeli lander on Earth’s satellite.

The budget for the first spacecraft was 100 million, a fraction of the cost of vehicles launched to the moon by major powers in the past from the United States, Russia and China. It was a collaboration between SpaceIL and IAI, but was almost entirely funded by personal donations from well-known Jewish social workers, including Maurice Kahn, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Lynn Schusterman and others.

One of the last photos Bereshit took before the moon crashed on April 11, 2019. (Credit: Courtesy of SpaceIL)

The Bereshit 2 mission, scheduled for 2024, aims to break several records in world space history, including the double moon landing in a single mission by the two smallest landers in space, each weighing 120 kilograms, half of which. Is fuel

The landers will be launched into a spacecraft in orbit, then separated to receive the second part of their mission. One of the landers will try to land far to the moon, which only China has been able to do so far, and the second spacecraft is expected to land on a site on the moon that has not yet been determined.

Last month, Israeli private astronaut Etan Steebe and three other astronauts flew off the coast of Florida after spending two weeks on the ISS in a historic mission for the commercial sector, marking the last officer on the first fully private mission to the orbital outpost.

The mission is also seen as a turning point in NASA’s commercialization of low-Earth orbit.

Steve and his three chromosomes – American real estate magnet Larry Connor, Canadian financier Mark Pathi and veteran Spanish-American astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria – set sail on April 8. Axiom paid SpaceX for space transport services and NASA for use of ISS, while charging টাই 55 million for privileges to three tycoons.

This image, provided by SpaceX, shows the SpaceX crew aboard the Dragon ship Friday, April 8, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. On the right is the Israeli Ethan Stebe. (Credit: SpaceX via AP)

They were originally scheduled to spend only eight days on the space station, but bad weather has repeatedly delayed. In total, the crew spent 17 days in orbit, of which 15 were in the ISS.

SpaceX, owned by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, now regularly flies to and from NASA astronauts’ space station.

Earlier this year, the Israeli government signed a NASA-led space program aimed at landing astronauts on the lunar surface and establishing a long-term human presence on the moon for future missions to Mars.

Shoshana Solomon and the staff of the Times of Israel contributed to this article.

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