Deep space bright nebula.
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs signed an agreement with Israel on Thursday for cooperation in space.
The agreement was signed as part of the visit by Science, Technology and Space Ministry director-general Ido Sharir in Vienna. He, Israeli Ambassador to Austria Zvi Hefetz and Yuri Fedotov, the head of the UN office, signed it while making preparations for a world conference on space that will be held in Jerusalem in October.
Thousands of experts in the space industry will arrive in the capital to attend.
“This is a small step for the ministry and a giant step for Israel,” said Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon, paraphrasing the famous sentence said by US astronaut Neil Armstrong when he set foot on the moon in 1969.
“The agreement proves that Israel is among the leading countries in space [technology] and has much to contribute to the whole world, especially in research and the development of components and satellites.
At a time when international organizations are calling for a boycott of Israeli academics and their research,” added Danon, “we will continue to act with all our power and in all the fields so the name of our country will fly proudly everywhere.”
The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs is the central international organization that deals with all the aspects of space activity in the world for the benefit of mankind – science, technology, justice, education, coping with threats against the Earth from space and more.
Simonetta Di Pippo, the office’s director, visited Israel last January and said she was impressed by its abilities in space and potential for international cooperation. After she returned home, Di Pippo pushed for the conclusion of the agreement with the UN.
The accord will make it possible to build specific mechanisms for cooperation in using space for civilian purposes in which Israel’s academia, space industry and the Israel Space Agency will participate.
For example, satellite photographs can be disseminated to regions hit by natural disasters, and international cooperation can be organized to prevent threats of bodies from space hitting Earth.