NASA could send another Israeli astronaut into space, says chief

New NASA chief visits Jerusalem, says agency could send another Israeli into space, 15 years after Ilan Ramon died on space shuttle mission.

JTA,

Minister of Sciense Ofir Akunis (R) with NASA chief Jim Bridenstine
Minister of Sciense Ofir Akunis (R) with NASA chief Jim Bridenstine
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The new head of NASA visited Jerusalem and said he would consider sending a second Israeli astronaut into space.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine met Thursday with Israel’s science and technology minister, Ofir Akunis, and they agreed to expand cooperation on issues including the international space station, space exploration and earth science research, Ynet reported.

Akunis expressed interest in sending a second Israeli astronaut into space and Bridenstine said the United States would consider the request, Haaretz reported.

Israel’s first astronaut with NASA, Ilan Ramon, died in 2003 while aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere at the end of the science and research mission.

Bridenstine is scheduled to speak with students in Jerusalem along with officials from the Israel Space Agency to discuss future joint space plans.


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