(JTA) – The new head of NASA visited Jerusalem and said he would consider sending a second Israeli astronaut into space. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine met Thursday with Israel’s science and technology minister, Ofir Akunis, and they agreed to expand cooperation on issues including the International Space Station, space exploration and earth science research, Ynet reported. Akunis expressed interest in sending a second Israeli astronaut into space and Bridenstine said the United States would consider the request, Haaretz reported. Israel’s first astronaut with NASA, Ilan Ramon, died in 2003 while aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere at the end of the science and research mission.
Bridenstine is scheduled to speak with students in Jerusalem along with officials from the Israel Space Agency to discuss future joint space plans.
CAP: Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, right, with Jim Bridenstine, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at a press conference at the King David hotel in Jerusalem, July 12, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)