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NASA and the Israel Space Agency are entering into a partnership for the Beresheet 2 lunar mission

The Beresheet 2 mission, scheduled for launch in 2025, underscores the Israeli ambition to return to the moon

On Wednesday, the Israel Space Agency signed an agreement with NASA for full cooperation on the upcoming Israeli moon mission Beresheet 2. The two organizations have already collaborated in 2019 on the first Beresheet mission. The space probe launched in February 2019 managed to reach lunar orbit before it crashed while trying to land on the moon.

The Beresheet 2 mission, expected to be launched in 2025, confirms Israel’s ambition to return to the moon. The mission consists of three spacecraft: an orbiter that will remain in space and two landers that will reach the lunar surface. NASA will provide SpaceIL and the Israel Space Agency with its advanced communications systems, which are essential for tracking the spacecraft during the critical phase of the mission. “We need NASA equipment to better understand the situation and transmit data,” explained the head of SpaceIL.

One of the landers will land on the far side of the moon, carrying NASA instruments to take radiation measurements. “Radiation is very important in space exploration, especially in deep space, for the survival of equipment and astronauts,” Sarid said, stressing the importance of measuring levels on the Moon. In return, Israel will freely share with NASA the data it collects with its own devices.

@SpaceIL/via TwitterA snapshot taken by the Israeli probe Beresheet, while it was a few kilometers above the surface of the moon, April 11, 2019.

“The Beresheet project is the pride of Israel’s advanced science and technology,” said Israeli Science Minister Ofir Akunis at the signing ceremony. “The cooperation with NASA and the Israel Space Agency is further testimony to the excellent relations between Israel and the United States and the intensification of cooperation on scientific and technological issues.” The United States isn’t alone in participating in the Beresheet2 mission: Last year, SpaceIL signed a partnership with the United Arab Emirates to collaborate on the mission.

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The agreement was signed between the Israel Space Agency and NASA within the framework of the 18th annual Ilan Ramon International Space Conference. This conference is held annually in memory of Ilan Ramon, the first ever Israeli astronaut, who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. Since then, Israel has successfully sent another astronaut into space, Eitan Stipe.