The Israel Space Agency at the Ministry of Science and Technology on Sunday launched the annual Israeli Space Week, in which events related to space are offered free of charge in locations throughout Israel.
Israeli Space Week is held around the anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia, which occurred on February 1, 2003, when Columbia disintegrated as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew members on board, including the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
Among the guests as Israeli Space Week is NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold, who told Arutz Sheva, “We’re here today to inspire the next generation of explorers in space, but we’re also here honoring and celebrating the legacy of the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia.”
When asked by young children what it means to be an astronaut, Arnold replies, “[It’s] a lot of hard work, a little bit of luck and a really cool job. We’re very fortunate in what we get to do but space is there for all of us with a little hard work.”
He expressed hope that there will be more Israeli astronauts in the future.
“When you get up to space and look down at this planet of ours, the first thing you think is, ‘I wish more people could sit here and see this.’ The more people that get that orbital perspective, the more surmountable our problems here on Earth are. You realize there are a lot of things we can solve.”
Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) urged all Israelis to take part in the free activities taking place throughout this week.
“Maybe the next astronaut will come from here,” he said.