Under the teaming agreement, signed at the Ilan Ramon International Space Conference in Tel Aviv, IAI will provide a lunar lander based on the Beresheet spacecraft it built in cooperation with SpaceIL, due to be launched next month from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
OHB, the main contractor, will manage operations in conjunction with the ESA and developers of scientific instruments to be installed on the lander.
The collaboration aims to provide mission-enabling services for the ESA’s in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) missions, which aim to show, by 2025, that water or oxygen production on the moon is feasible. These technologies are necessary for long-term human settlement away from Earth.
“IAI is proud to partner with a leading global satellite company and to cooperate with the German and European space agencies,” said IAI CEO Nimrod Sheffer. “We are proud to continue leading the Israeli space industry to new heights and are looking forward greatly to the launch of Beresheet to space and its journey to the moon next month.”
ESA Director-General Prof. Johann-Dietrich Wörner welcomed the partnership, describing it as a “further stepping stone toward the moon village.”
On Monday, the Israel Space Agency announced at the conference that it would be joining forces with the Austrian Space Forum (ÖWF) to hold a three-week Mars simulation project in Israel in November 2020.
The 13th simulation of its kind, set to be one of the world’s largest yet, will take place in Mitzpe Ramon and will welcome the participation of six astronauts, including one Israeli. Last year, the simulation took place in a remote desert area of Oman.
The conditions in the Ramon crater are said to be similar to those on Mars and will enable researchers to explore various aspects of the planet in an authentic environment.
“We are proud to have chosen the beautiful and special area of Mitzpe Ramon for the simulation,” said Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis.
“The simulation will have scientific and even touristic value due to Israel’s breathtaking landscapes. The simulation is among the most advanced in the world and will advance space exploration and Israel’s glorious space industry.”