Ministry of Science, Technology and Space recently announced additional financial support for the SpaceIL program

Minister Akunis: “Landing on the moon will be one of Israel’s greatest moments”

YEHUD, Israel, Nov. 26 – Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Ofir Akunis, last week visited the plant where the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon is being built, after the ministry announced an additional $2.02 million (NIS 7.5 million) in support for the historic project. Joining Akunis were the ministry’s Director General, Ran Bar, and Israel Space Agency Director Avi Balasberger.

The moon mission is being funded primarily by private individuals, led by philanthropists Morris Kahn and Dr. Miri and Sheldon Adelson.

“The moon mission is one of great national pride. There is a short time before the spacecraft’s launch, and I have no doubt all Israelis will feel great joy when the spacecraft blasts off,” Akunis said. “I am a great believer that the landing will be one of the highlights in the history of the State of Israel, and the educational activity we are doing around the mission sets the foundation for engineers who will work in the field of space and science in the next decade.”

SpaceIL CEO Dr. Ido Antebi added: “What began as a model the size of a half-gallon bottle for a competition has become the prototype of a commercial spacecraft with the ability to reach the moon. This is the future of the Israeli spacecraft industry.”

SpaceIL President Morris Kahn said: “I’m glad we’ve arrived at this moment. The spacecraft is the project of the entire Jewish people.”

Ofer Doron, IAI’s Space Station manager, who hosted the visit, said that IAI engineers are working day and night to complete the last engineering preparations on the spacecraft.

“We welcome the fruitful educational cooperation with the Israeli Space Agency and the Ministry of Science, especially in the field of science and technology education,” SpaceIL Vice President Sari Brosh Rechav said during the visit. “The spacecraft is itself a success story.”

(from right) Dr. Ido Antebi, CEO of SpaceIL; Morris Kahn, President of SpaceIL; Ofir Akunis, Minister of Science and Technology; and Ofer Doron, director of the Israel Aerospace Industries’ space factory. (Photo Credit: Alon Ron)

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