An Israeli astronaut coming to space in 2020?

Israel's Science Minister meets in Washington with NASA chief to discuss possibility of Israeli astronaut joining future NASA mission.

Hezki Baruch ,

Astronaut in space
Astronaut in space

Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) met in Washington on Wednesday with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) administrator Charles Bolden. 

Israel Space Agency chairman and former Kadima MK Yitzhak Ben-Israel was also in attendance. 

At the meeting, Akunis raised with Bolden the possibility of either a male or female Israeli astronaut joining a future NASA mission into space. 

The two agreed to continue discussions on the matter, with the hope of placing an Israeli astronaut on a mission in 2020 - two years after NASA is set to resume manned expeditions. 

Israel's first and only astronaut to date was Ilan Ramon, who was killed at age 48 during the fatal Columbia mission in 2003. He was posthumously awarded the US Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the only foreign recipient of the award. 

Akunis and Bolden also agreed to establish working groups to discuss additional joints US-Israeli projects in the space sciences field. 

To conclude the meeting, Akunis presented the NASA administrator a coin embossed with the image of Jerusalem. 

"Although we are dealing with the future, this coin from Jerusalem reflects the ancient past of Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years," the Space Minister said. 

Akunis and Bolden PR photo