The director of United States space agency (NASA) Jim Bridenstine arrived to Israel Thursday and signed new agreement with the Israel Space Agency (ISA) in his first international visit.
NASA and the ISA will expand their cooperation, according to an official joint statement issued on Thursday by Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, NASA director Bridenstine and Israel Aerospace Agency Director Avi Blassberger.
During the meeting, Akunis stated Israel's desire to send another Israeli astronaut to space, in which Bridenstine declared that NASA also had an interest.
"The joint declaration signed today symbolizes the mutual interest in building scientific and technological capabilities in space. The fact that the head of NASA chose to hold his first visit outside US borders here in Israel says a great deal about the close alliance between the two countries and the tremendous appreciation that they have for Israel's vast technological capabilities in the field of space," said Akunis.
In the agreement, the parties expressed a willingness to cooperate in NASA programs such as the International Space Station, the study of the universe and earth sciences, life sciences, and the use of nano sciences
— an Israel expertise.
Bridenstine mentioned that he plans to return to the moon in accordance with US President Donald Trump's vision.
In addition, he mentioned that NASA is exploring options to build a space vessel close to the moon that would be used by astronauts to probe the moon, which would serve as a launching position for missions into deeper space.
Bridenstine concluded by stating that "NASA has a great deal of interest in Israeli technologies."
The Israeli space agency has a number of current agreements with NASA, including an agreement to use a radiation protection suit developed by an Israeli company on the unmanned NASA flight to Mars.
The ISA and NASA have been officially working together since October 1996 in which the two organizations signed an agreement for joint cooperation in the peaceful use of space, an international agreement between two nations to foster growth in space.