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June 18, 2015 9:50 am

Israeli Science Minister Eyes Sending First Israeli Female Astronaut to Space

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Ilan Ramon (pictured), Israel's first astronaut in space, died in the Space Shuttle Columbia crash. Photo: NASA.

Ilan Ramon (pictured), Israel’s first astronaut in space, died in the Space Shuttle Columbia crash. Photo: NASA. – Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon has asked the Israel Space Agency (ISA) to begin searching for the first female Israeli astronaut to be sent to space.

Danon’s quest comes 12 years after the first Israeli astronaut of any gender in space, Ilan Ramon, tragically died along with the rest of the crew aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia when it burned up upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Danon spoke with America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) earlier this week about the possibility of working together with Israel on future manned space flights. He said that although finding an astronaut is a long process that requires both funding and coordination within Israel and with the U.S., he has asked the ISA to begin the current search right away.

NASA’s Space Shuttle Program wound down in 2011, putting the brakes on American human spaceflight for the immediate future. But NASA still sends astronauts to the International Space Station via Russian spacecraft. The ISA and NASA are in talks about the possibility of including an Israeli astronaut in a future mission to space. Danon stressed the importance of having a strong female presence in the sciences.

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