Science Minister:
'National pride' in Israel's first lunar landing mission

Akunis visits plant building 1st Israeli spacecraft to moon; 'I've no doubt joy of all Israeli citizens will be felt when ship lifts off.'

Mordechai Sones,

SpaceIL
SpaceIL
Flash 90

Science Minister Ophir Akunis, Science Ministry Director-General Ran Bar, and Israel Aerospace Agency Director Avi Blassberger visited the plant where the first Israeli spacecraft to reach the moon is being built.

The project has so far been funded primarily by donations from private individuals, led by philanthropist Maurice Kahn and Dr. Miri and Sheldon Adelson.

Recently, however, the Science Ministry announced government support for the SpaceIL project in the amount of up to NIS 7.5 million.

Minister Akunis (2nd left) at plant
Alon Ron

"The event is one of great national pride. We are a short time before the launch of the spacecraft, and I have no doubt that the joy of all citizens of Israel will be felt when the spacecraft blasts off," Minister Akunis said.

"I'm a great believer that the landing will be one of the highlights of the State of Israel, and the educational activities we do together lay the foundation for engineers and engineering to work in the field of space and science in the next decade," he added.

SpaceIL Director Dr. Ido Antebi said, "What started as a model the size of a half-gallon bottle for a competition has become the archetype of a commercial spacecraft with the ability to reach the moon, which is the future of the Israeli spacecraft industry."

SpaceIL president Morris Kahn said: "I'm happy to reach this moment. The spacecraft is the project of the entire Jewish People."

IAI Space Station Manager Ofer Doron who hosted the visit said that IAI engineers are working day and night to complete the last engineering preparations on the spacecraft that will soon embark on its mission launching towards the moon.

"We welcome the fruitful educational cooperation with the Israeli Space Agency in the Science Ministry, especially in the field of education in science and technology studies. Through the spacecraft project, we will allow Israeli students to dream big dreams in our small country. Educationally, the spacecraft is a success story anyway."


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