The Israel Space Agency is soliciting ideas for research experiments to be carried out by the second Israeli ever in space when he takes part in a mission to the International Space Station late next year.
The agency, part of the Ministry of Science and Technology, announced last month that Eytan Stibbe will take part in a mission made up entirely of privately funded individual funding their own flights. Stibbe, a former fighter pilot in the Israel Air Force who holds numerous IAF records, is the head of a private equity fund and reportedly a multi-millionaire.
The ISA said the launch will put Stibbe on the International Space Station for 200 hours, which he will use to conduct a series of unprecedented experiments that are intended to advance Israeli technologies and scientific developments by researchers and startups.
Now, hailing a “revolution in space exploration,” the ISA is asking “scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs” to submit proposals for experiments to be conducted on the space station.
The ISA says the experiments will be selected by a committee consisting of senior figures in the fields of academia, technology, industry and government, and headed by Inbal Kreis, director of innovation in the Missile and Space Systems Division in the Israel Aerospace Industries.
“This mission is a rare opportunity to conduct and advance groundbreaking research in space on a large scale, and enable the Israeli space community rapid access to the International Space Station with infrastructure to conduct a wide range of experiments and advance scientific means and research,” Kreis said in a statement.
Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay said, “We are at the beginning of a global revolution in space exploration. Within a few years, most space research will be handed over by the government to private hands, and Israel has the potential to be a central figure in the developing industry.”
Stibbe, 62, will travel on a shuttle launched from Florida at the end of 2021, and will soon start his training, which will take him to the United States, Germany and Russia.
Stibbe, the founder and chair of Vital Capital private equity fund, made much of his fortune as the founder and previous co-owner of the LR group, which has focused on security and infrastructure work in Africa.
A colonel in the Israeli Air Force reserves, Stibbe flew as a fighter pilot for 43 years and participated in dozens of operational missions.
He holds numerous records for both flying and aerial combat, including being the only IAF pilot to have downed four enemy planes during one sortie, a feat achieved during the first Lebanon war in 1982. The F-16 fighter jet he flew during his service has reportedly taken down more enemy planes than any other in the world.