A delegation of astronauts from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration coming to Israel next week will mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Israel's first astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, in the Columbia shuttle's last flight. The event is the initiative of World ORT as part of its Forward Science project in Kiryat Yam, which has been declared an Israeli "City of Science." The delegation was invited by the Ministry of Education Culture and Sports. ORT has invested NIS 150 million in the Forward Science project and is implementing it with help from the Education Ministry on its 34 campuses, mostly in the periphery. The program aims to improve thousands of students' science study environment and skills. Ramon, the Columbia's payload specialist, died along with American astronauts when it exploded over the US during its descent on February 1, 2003. On the anniversary of his death, ORT Kiryat Yam pupils will listen to a lecture by NASA astronaut Captain Michael Lopez-Alegria on space research. The astronaut has spent more time in space - 257 days - than anyone else and taken 67 hours' worth of space walks. Meanwhile, the Knesset Science and Technology Committee will mark the five years since Ramon's death in a special session to be attended by the visiting NASA astronauts.