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One giant step: Israel gears up for annual Space Week

NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Randy Bresnik will meet with attendees, and free activities will be on offer across the country.

A photo by the Beresheet spacecraft, in which an Israeli flag can be seen on a plaque with the inscription, “Am Israel Chai,” or “the Jewish people lives,” and in English, “Small country, big dreams,” taken 23,360 miles from Earth. Credit: SpaceIL/IAI.
A photo by the Beresheet spacecraft, in which an Israeli flag can be seen on a plaque with the inscription, “Am Israel Chai,” or “the Jewish people lives,” and in English, “Small country, big dreams,” taken 23,360 miles from Earth. Credit: SpaceIL/IAI.

Israel is gearing up for its 11th annual Space Week beginning Jan. 29, which will bring together leaders of national space agencies from the U.S., Germany and Italy, as well as astronauts and senior industry figures from around the world.

The event, organized by Israel Space Agency, includes 20 public meetings nationwide with NASA astronauts Victor Glover and Randy Bresnik, as well as free activities—lectures, space observations and lesson programs—at 28 centers set up across the country.

This year’s theme is “Earth and Space Becoming One.”

“Space Week marks the 20th anniversary of the Columbia [shuttle] crash and the tragic loss of Ilan Ramon. Ilan, the first Israeli astronaut, made us all very proud. So does Israel’s groundbreaking space industry, whose growth under the leadership of the Ministry of Innovation and Science will give rise to significant Israeli scientific achievements,” said Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Ofir Akunis.

“One of our main objectives is to grant greater accessibility to science and technology to all of Israel’s citizens, and this is what we will do this year,” he added.

Uri Oron, director of the Israel Space Agency, said: “We are now at a propitious time in which space is becoming an essential dimension for maintaining a modern lifestyle. As access to space becomes more available, the emerging capabilities—those formerly reserved to global superpowers alone—introduce numerous opportunities for civilian uses that can significantly enhance life on Earth. The emerging reality creates a vast space of opportunities, in which Israel’s high-tech industry, once again, will make its mark through its many distinctive advantages.”

The Israel Space Agency is this year marking its 40th anniversary.

The full list of events is available in Hebrew here.

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