Shimon Sarid
Shimon SaridSpaceIL

Just two weeks after SpaceIL’s announcement of a US$ 1 million grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the organization’s managing board today announced the appointment of its new CEO, Lieutenant General (Res.) Shimon Sarid.

Sarid will be tasked with leading all SpaceIL activities, including the Beresheet 2 space program, with the ultimate goal of building an additional unmanned Israeli spacecraft - a mission which encompasses technological challenges, as well as technological and educational inspiration for youth.

Sarid, who will step in on March 1st, 2020, has engineering, command, and managerial experience spanning many years. For 28 years he has served in a string of development, command and management positions at the Israeli Air Force, and has also been awarded an Israel Prize for his contribution to the development of a groundbreaking defense system.

In his most recent role, Sarid commanded the technical division of the Air Force. Since then, and for the past 15 years, Sarid has held numerous leadership positions, such as CEO of “Silver Arrow”, an Elbit Systems company, as well as VP at Elbit’s UAV division – where he initiated and led the development of the Hermes 900 UAV, and also worked on developing the next generations of UAVs at Elbit. Sarid has a bachelor’s degree in space and aeronautics engineering from the Technion and a master’s degree from the joint Boston University and Ben Gurion University management science program.

Sarid will enter his new role following an interim period during which SpaceIL CFO, Oren Elkaslasy, filled the position temporarily.

Prof. Yitzhak Ben Israel, member of the SpaceIL managing board and Chairman of the Israeli Space Agency: “We are happy to welcome Shimon Sarid to SpaceIL. We are certain that his skills and years’ long experience earned in his previous roles will help push SpaceIL forward and will assist in the renewed launch of this national mission.”

Kfir Damari, SpaceIL co-founder: “SpaceIL continues its educational activities meant to advance the next generation of Israeli scientists and engineers. Together with Shimon and under his leadership, we are confident that we can advance an additional space project and inspire more youths to learn and study space, and, most importantly, to work toward realizing their dreams.”

Sarid said in a statement Wednesday that he is "excited to take part in this unique technological project of national importance, whose primary goal is to offer inspiration to teenagers in Israel, thus continually developing and preserving Israel’s world-class technological edge.”

SpaceIL, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2011 with the aim of promoting scientific and technological education in Israel. Upon its inception, SpaceIL took on the challenge of building the first Israeli spacecraft and to land it on the moon. On April 4th, 2019, Beresheet 1 successfully entered lunar orbit, making Israel the 7th country in the world ever to reach the moon, and SpaceIL - the first privately funded enterprise in history to do so. SpaceIL passionately believes in "Inspiring by Doing." Thus, the team continues to plan the next journey to the moon as it plants the seeds for future engineers, dreamers, and entrepreneurs who will make up the next generation of professionals who make dreams come true.