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13 oct 2015. Within the framework of the 66th International Astronautical Congress currently taking place in Jerusalem, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Israel Space Agency Director General Menachem Kidron signed a wide-ranging cooperation agreement today (13 October 2015). The new agreement, which is more far-reaching and in-depth than its predecessor in effect from 1996-2005, will enable NASA and ISA to cooperate in the exploration and research of space for the betterment of mankind and for peaceful use.
At the signing ceremony, Administrator Bolden said: “Our two countries have had a long history of cooperation in space exploration, scientific discovery and research, and we look forward to the opportunities this new agreement provides us to build upon this partnership. 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.”
ISA Chair Isaac Ben-Israel responded that “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.”
Among the potential areas of cooperation enabled by this agreement are: 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. The goal of the agreement is to provide the framework for discussions of areas of cooperation between the agencies which could then lead to more specific agreements between the two sides.
“The implications of this agreement for Israel’s space and scientific communities are tremendous,” said Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis. “The agreement provides us a platform for mutual cooperation between the Israeli and American space agencies and thus allows the science communities in both our counties important access to projects that offer the promise of significant development and growth in the years ahead.”