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Space


Israeli Space Agency

The Israel Space Agency's goals include advancing infrastructural research at academic and research institutions; supporting the development of innovative and unique space technologies by Israel Aerospace Industries; cultivating a new generation of space scientists through space education and community projects; and encouraging the expansion and growth of Israel's space industry.

ISA works in partnership with diverse space related industries, including among others, the Experiment and Integration Center, ground monitoring and control stations and remote satellites receiving stations. The development of small and lightweight payload and satellites enables vast usage for scientific exploration and space research contributes to ISA and Israel international prestige, respect and space power.

ISA activities emphasize the importance of scientific research and development and support projects with substantial economic potential. The Agency’s goals include the development of new innovative and unique space technologies, to produce and manufacture new lines of products; to create and establish a new generations of scientists in the field of space science and exploration, and support and encourage expansion and growth of related space industries.

ISA's guiding principle is that civilian space activity contributes to Israel's economy, to the country's global status, and to the well-being of its citizens via agricultural and communication applications, the monitoring of environmental pollution, and research. Space research and exploration also inspire and motivate the younger generation to engage in scientific pursuits.

Following in the footsteps of India, Israel is first concentrating on the development of relatively simple launch vehicles with low payload capacity and of satellites based on proven technologies. Future activities may be biased toward the deployment of more sophisticated space systems (via domestic and commercial foreign launch services) rather than a significant advance in booster capability.

The Israeli Space Agency (ISA) was created in 1983 under the Ministry of Science and Technology and is chaired by Prof. Yuval Ne'eman. The Director General of ISA, Aby Har-Even, manages the agency in its duties to run the nation's space program, to coordinate research and space studies, and to promote the "development of space-related products by the private sector" (References 31-32). Cooperating with ISA to exploit Israel's fledgling capabilities in space are the Interdisciplinary Center for Technological Analysis and Forecasting of Tel Aviv University and the National Committee for Space Research of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

To date Israel's industrial base for launch vehicle and satellite development is narrow. Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. (JAI) was the principal designer and manufacturer of the Shavit solid-propellant booster and the Ofeq experimental spacecraft and is developing the Amos geostationary communications satellite. Rafael, Israel Armament Development Authority, was responsible for the AUS-51 which has served as the third stage motor of Shavit launch vehicle. The Asher Space Research Institute of the Technion Institute of Technology is developing the small Techsat (aka Gurwin-1), a 50-kg class satellite scheduled for launch in 1995, and El-Op Electro-optics Industries specializes in spaceborne sensors.

The official ISA annual budget is only about $50 million, but this does not cover launch vehicle development or most satellite programs. Instead, Israeli industry is making substantial investments in space technology, while the Ministry of Defense underwrites much of the infrastructure, including the Shavit launch vehicle and the Palmachim launch facility (References 33-36).

The main activities of the Israel Space Agency in the year 1998 were as follows:

    (a) Launching of the Technion students' satellite (Techsat) Gurwin on 10 July 1998 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by the Ukrainian Zenit launcher;

    (b) Preparations for transferring the Israeli our ultraviolet Tauvex telescope to the Russian spectrum roentgen gamma (SRG) satellite;

    (c) Continuation of regular activities with the Israeli geostationary communication satellite Amos and the remote sensing satellite Ofeq;

    (d) Regular reception and distribution of remote sensing images from the Système pour l'observation de la Terre (SPOT) and European remote sensing (ERS) satellites;

    (e) Organization of a bilateral Israeli-French scientific workshop on space-sharing ideas for future possibilities of scientific cooperation;

    (f) Continuing support by the Israel Space Agency for Israeli scientists performing research in the field of remote sensing utilizations and tectonic plate motion measurements using global positioning satellite systems and so on;

    (g) Continuation of scientific preparations for the Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment (MEIDEX), which is expected to fly in 2001 on the space shuttle of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States of America and to be operated by an Israeli astronaut;

    (h) Continuation of other activities as reported to the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

    Over the years Israel has been involved in international space research and technology projects, and has developed a worldwide reputation for its achievements and capabilities in this sphere. Israel's space industry specializes in specific areas, including miniaturization and communication technologies. Israel's space science activity contributes substantially to the national economy and helps advance Israeli scientific and technological research: space study and exploration are strategic, security, political and industrial assets. The ISA aspires to maintain Israel's comparative advantage and to place Israel among the world's top five countries in the field of space research and exploration.




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