Israel on Wednesday officially joined the NASA-led Artemis Accords, an international framework agreement aimed at promoting human exploration of deep space
The online signing ceremony was conducted by NASA Administrator Senator Bill Nelson and head of the Israel Space Agency (ISA), Brig.-Gen. (res.) Uri Oron. It comes on the heels of the 17th Ilan Ramon International Space Conference, an annual event that occurs during Israel Space Week with the intent of encouraging new generations of Israelis to get involved in space exploration.
Israel is the 15th nation to sign on to the accords. Besides the United States, the other 13 are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
The immediate goal of the Artemis Accords is to return humans to the Moon by 2025. From there it aims to expand exploration into deep space.
The Israel space program has been in the news of late. There are a number of Israelis at NASA involved in big projects like the James Webb Telescope, Israel has been helping astronauts and scientists train for a possible near-term Mars mission, and in 2019 SpaceIL nearly successfully landed a craft on the lunar surface.
Had Israel stuck that landing it would have joined the US, Russia and China as the only nations to ever land on the moon. The Jewish state intends to try again.
To say that Israelis are enthusiastic about space exploration would be an understatement. See the following English version of the SpaceIL promo that went viral in Israel ahead of the lunar landing attempt: