Israel officially entered the space
age with the lift-off of its first satellite, Ofeq-1, from the locally
built Shavit launch vehicle on September 19, 1988. With that launch,
Israel joined an exclusive club of countries - Russia, the United
States, England, Japan, India, France and China - that have developed,
produced and launched their own satellites.
As well as developing space hardware, Israel is using space as a platform to find out more about life on our own planet. Israel has made
important contributions in a number of areas including laser
communication, research into embryo development and osteoporosis,
monitoring pollution, and mapping geology, soil and vegetation in
The next step was taken in early 2003 when NASA launched the 28th
flight of space shuttle Columbia, on mission STS-107. The seven
crewmembers on board included the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
international space programs have taken an interest in Israel's space
achievements. In addition to NASA, Israel has formal space research
cooperation agreements with France, Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, the
Netherlands and India. In June 2003, Israel was accepted into the
European Space Agency (ESA) as a participating member.