Israel signs onto NASA Artemis program that will take astronauts back to the moon

Israel has become the 14th country to sign on to NASA’s Artemis program, which will take astronauts back to the lunar surface.

The country will cooperate with the US space agency on various projects related to the initiative. It thus joins Britain, Australia, Japan, Italy, the United Arab Emirates and others.

Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen says Israel is joining the international effort to make the moon “more than a stop, but a place on which to remain for a significant amount of time, in order to allow developments and research that cannot be done anywhere else. Israel can and should play a central role in this dream.”

The space agency is seeking to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon. The first planned unmanned test flight is scheduled for March, using NASA’s new SLS rocket. A first manned mission, which will send astronauts into lunar orbit, is planned for 2024. A moon landing is expected in 2025.

An artist’s rendering depicts the SLS rocket on its way to a launch pad (NASA)

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