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Israeli startups compete to join NASA space exploration program

Jewish National Fund-USA's philanthropic investments in southern Israel continue to pay dividends, as an elite NASA space exploration competition attracts local talent.

AI impression of an exploration rover on Mars. Created by JNF-USA with Microsoft’s Copilot.
AI impression of an exploration rover on Mars. Created by JNF-USA with Microsoft’s Copilot.

Southern Israel is emerging as a hub for innovative space technology, pushing the boundaries of what is possible beyond Earth. The region’s developments, from artificial intelligence health monitors to carbon-neutral air-conditioning systems are redefining human exploration possibilities. Technologies like underground robotics and advanced pathogen protection are expanding the potential for sustainable human presence in space.

Recently, a prestigious space tech business incubator in Mitzpe Ramon unveiled its portfolio of startups that are well placed to contribute to the Artemis lunar exploration program. Roi Naor, CEO of Creation-Space, remarked, “Israeli technologies in space are not only an important milestone for Israeli high-tech but also a tremendous Zionist achievement.”

The Jewish National Fund-USA technology hub was officially opened on March 19, 2024. Courtesy JNF-USA

Israel, known as the Startup Nation and a leader in satellite technology, aims to innovate in deep space. The unique “EXPAND space accelerator,” launched in collaboration with Creation-Space and the Tech7 innovation community, aims to position Israeli technologies for inclusion in NASA’s Artemis program, which focuses on the exploration of the moon and Mars.

Out of over 50 Israeli startups, five were selected to receive guidance from senior space industry figures worldwide and to be candidates for financial support. These technologies are expected to advance human efforts for outer-space settlement and address environmental challenges on Earth.

The selected companies include:

  1. Tedence Space: Developing an innovative medical platform using AI to analyze extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) for health diagnosis and protection in space.
  2. Omnidrill: Creating underground robotic technologies for sustainable infrastructure solutions on Earth and future lunar and Mars colonies.
  3. Inhayle: Developing hydroxyl-based surface disinfection technology to reduce infections in hospitals and maintain cleanliness in space stations.
  4. OASIX: Revolutionizing heating and cooling systems with a carbon-neutral heat pump that works in all weather conditions and reduces energy costs.
  5. NOVAlert: Creating sensors for smart monitoring of physiological conditions through clothing to detect and warn of dysfunction due to fatigue or medical events.

Naor said, “This groundbreaking Israeli entrepreneurship not only advances science and technology but also strengthens Israel’s position as a global leader in the commercial space sector.” He noted that the space sector in Israel is expanding beyond satellite technology to include deep-space exploration and support for human life beyond Earth.

The accelerator’s recent launch event in Mitzpe Ramon, supported by Jewish National Fund-USA and CreationsVC, featured notable speakers and panelists, including Uri Oron, director of the Israel Space Agency, who discussed the journey and prospects of Israel’s space industry. The event highlighted the intersection of space technology, regional development and economic growth.

“The launch of the accelerator is further evidence of the development of the space sector in Israel,” Oron said. “Mitzpe Ramon and its surroundings attract entrepreneurs’ imagination and future ideas in Israel and around the world. The Space Agency is proud to continue its works with the accelerator.”

Oren Hefetz of Jewish National Fund-USA added, “The launch of the accelerator is another significant step towards realizing our vision for developing the Negev and creating new business and employment opportunities.”

Steve Braverman, Manager of CreationsVC, expressed excitement about supporting the Expand accelerator program, stating, “Identifying innovative technologies that support ‘life in space,’ combined with a focus on climate efficiency, will help improve space efforts and address challenges on Earth that require new thinking and innovative approaches.”

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Jewish National Fund-USA builds a strong, vibrant future for the land and people of Israel through bold initiatives and Zionist education. As a leading philanthropic movement, the organization supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south as it develops new communities in the Negev and Galilee, connects the next generation to Israel, and creates infrastructure and programs that support ecology, people with disabilities, and heritage site preservation, all while running a fully accredited study abroad experience through its Alexander Muss High School in Israel.
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