Israel Set to Send Second Astronaut Into Space
On Tuesday reports surfaced indicating that Israel is intending to send another astronaut into space, the second since Ilan Ramon tragically died in the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003.
Reshet Bet reported that the Israeli Space Agency is managing advanced talks with several space agencies to send another Israeli astronaut into space. The astronaut would likely go to the International Space Station (ISS) according to reports.
However, in January 2013, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said while visiting Israel that although there was a good chance of another Israeli astronaut, he didn't think an Israeli could be sent to ISS because the country is not a participant in the program.
Ramon, Israel's first astronaut, died along with his 6 crew mates in a re-entry accident. He became the only non-American to be given the US Congressional Space Medal of Honor, which was awarded posthumously.
Previously, Ramon was one of the eight F-16 pilots who bombed the Iraqi nuclear plant in 1981, preventing dictator Saddam Hussein from obtaining nuclear weapons.
An airport in Timna, near Eilat, is set to be named after Ramon and his son Assaf, who was killed in an IAF training accident in 2009.