04:11 GMT +324 July 2019
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    Qualitative Edge: Israel, NASA Boost Cooperation on Interplanetary Missions

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    A new cooperation agreement signed Tuesday in Jerusalem will pave the way for Israeli technology to aid NASA in its Mars missions and beyond.

    While clashes between Palestinians and Israelis get bloodier by the day, prompting Tel Aviv ally Washington to (albeit cautiously) suggest Israel could be using “excessive force” against Palestinian protesters, scientists in the US and Israel are hard at work on collaboration.

    The Israel Space Agency (ISA) signed a wide-ranging agreement with the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to encourage a collaborative approach to space exploration. The document was signed during the 66th International Astronautical Congress, held in Jerusalem October 12-16, with more than 3,500 participants from all over the world.

    “You are known for your innovation and technology and this agreement gives us the opportunity to cooperate with Israel on the journey to Mars as we open up new opportunities for all of our children,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said at the signing ceremony, addressing his Israeli colleagues.

    ISA Chair Isaac Ben-Israel detailed some of the things Israel can contribute to the deal.

    “Israeli space technology is known for being extremely light-weight. Seeing that conserving energy will be vital in any future mission to Mars, we expect our technology to play a key role in such endeavors,” Ben-Israel said.

    Israel and the US have had an almost two-decades-long history of cooperation in various space projects, with the first agreement signed back in 1996.

    FILE - This undated file photo provided by NASA shows, Israel's first astronaut Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon. Ramon was one of the seven astronauts on the space shuttle Columbia, which broke apart in flames over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all the astronauts onboard just 16 minutes before they were supposed to land in Florida.
    © AP Photo / NASA, File
    FILE - This undated file photo provided by NASA shows, Israel's first astronaut Air Force Col. Ilan Ramon. Ramon was one of the seven astronauts on the space shuttle Columbia, which broke apart in flames over Texas on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all the astronauts onboard just 16 minutes before they were supposed to land in Florida.

    The new extended agreement targets a range of cooperation areas, including “joint missions, personnel and scientific data exchanges, ground-based research facilities, space exploration and operations missions, joint workshops and meetings, scientific instruments onboard aircraft and spacecraft, sounding rocket and scientific balloon flights, space communications, educational outreach, and other spacecraft and space research platforms,” a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads.

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    Tags:
    space cooperation, International Astronautical Congress, Israel Space Agency, NASA, Isaac Ben-Israel, Charles Bolden, Israel, Jerusalem
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