In space
In spaceIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Three years from now, the Israel Space Agency will host the federation's International Astronautical Conference, the International Astronautical Federation announced Thursday.

Israel's agency was selected to host the conference over its counterparts in Mexico and Thailand, and Istanbul Technical University, according to a report Sunday by Army Radio.

The event has attracted more than 3,000 scientists from around the world in recent years, the federation said in its announcement.

The conference is held in collaboration with the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law.

The first Israeli astronaut was Ilan Ramon, 48, a member of the crew on the ill-fated Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107, which exploded upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere in February 2003.

Ramon, a colonel in the Israeli Air Force, was a fighter pilot who was selected as a payload specialist by the IAF in 1997 and approved by NASA in 1998. The Columbia was his first spaceflight.