Rona Ramon and President of Israel Unveiling the Shuttle
“Science is not only to know, science is to know to have courage”, President Peres.
Soon in Space? A simulation of the Israeli shuttle
The Shuttle Model Unveiling Ceremony What does the millions-years-of-age moon have to do with a young group of men from the small State of Israel? Three Israelis decided to take part in the “Google” competition to launch the first Israeli shuttle to space
Tal Michael and Michal Weissbrod | Photography: Yonatan Zalk
Yehonatan, Kfir and Yaniv, graduates of technological units in the IDF and security industries, are joining the ranks of tens of young visionaries from all around the globe. The “Google” competition will consist of groups from around the world attempting to launch a satellite into space and transmit real-time video images to earth. The prize: 20 Million Dollars.
“Like many good ideas, it all started in a pub”, says Yehonatan Weintraub, one of the founders of the group, with a smile. “We sat the three of us, talked and decided to go for it. In true Israeli fashion-this was a month before the deadline”.
For a month, the three men consolidated their initial idea, collected funds and submitted the application forms at the last minute, thus founding the “SpaceIL” foundation. “Finally, we received a positive answer from Google. It was the happiest moment ever”. Almost a year has passed since and 120 people have already joined the project, harnessing their free time to build a space shuttle.
“The length of the mission will be between a month and two, depending on the track”, explains Shachar Mendolvich, an engineer volunteering at the foundation. “The shuttle will orbit planet earth for 22 days and then begin the mission to the moon, which will take between four to 18 days. We’ll land on the moon at sunrise and we’ll stay there for three days, transmitting video and pictures from there”.
The weight of the shuttle will not pass 80 kilograms, what will make it the smallest shuttle to ever land on the moon. The experiments and the race to space have begun.
Who Will Build the Next Shuttle?
One of the important goals of the project is to improve the scientific education in Israel. The foundation promises to contribute the monetary prize to the next generation of Israeli scientists.
“The project is an amazing thing. Reaching the moon will give us the best International exposure and the best warning”, said President Shimon Peres in the model unveiling ceremony, to which Rona Ramon, whose foundation in honor of fallen husband Ilan and fallen son Assaf was one of the contributors to the project, was also in attendance. “Science is not only to know, science is to know to have courage”, said the President of Israel.