By Bradley Martin, Originally published in JNS.org
While Israel already has a reputation for being the “start-up nation” and a major hub for technological innovation, this year’s Space Week in the Jewish state showed that Israeli ingenuity is—quite literally—out of this world.
In a culmination of events highlighting Israel’s contributions to space exploration, Space Week 2016 honored the late Col. Ilan Ramon, the first and only Israeli astronaut.
Ramon was a space shuttle payload specialist who was killed along with his six crew members when the Columbia shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on Feb. 2, 2003.
Every year, the Ramon Foundation, in conjunction with the Israeli Ministry of Science and the Israel Space Agency, organizes a number of events hosting astronauts and leading space scientists. The purpose, according to the Ramon Foundation, is for these individuals “to visit as many schools, space clubs, and science centers as possible.”
“The goal is to get as many young people as possible exposed to space research and develop their sense of curiosity in the sciences,”said Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis.
For the event, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) loaned artifacts used by Ramon. Exhibited at the Israeli Air Force Center in Herzliya, NASA included a camera used by Ramon in space, his control system, a recording drive, and other electronic equipment.