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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has joined forces with the leading German space agency OHB System AG to help ESA missions reach the Moon, the companies said on Tuesday.
Under the co-operation agreement signed at Ilan Ramon International Space Conference in Tel Aviv, IAI will provide a moon based on the spacecraft Beresheet, built in collaboration with SpaceIL, to be released next month from Cape Canaveral, Florida .
OHB, the chief contractor, will manage operations jointly with ESA and developers of scientific tools to be installed on the ground.
The co-operation aims to provide mission-critical services to ESA missions on site (ISRU), which aim to show by 2025 that the production of water or oxygen on the moon is possible. These technologies are necessary for the long-term settlement of people outside the Earth.
"IAI is proud to partner with a leading global satellite company and collaborate with German and European space agencies," said IAI Executive Director Nimrod Scheffer. "We are proud to continue to lead the Israeli space industry to new heights, and we look forward to Beresheet's great start in space and his journey to the Moon next month."
ESA's Director General Prof Johan-Dietrich Wörner welcomed the partnership by describing it as "a further step to the lunar village".
On Monday, the Israeli space agency announced at the conference that it would join forces with the Austrian Space Forum (ÖWF) to conduct a three-week simulation project on Mars in Israel in November 2020.
The thirteenth simulation of this kind, which will be one of the largest in the world, will be held in Mitspe Ramon and will welcome the participation of six astronauts, including one Israeli. Last year the simulation took place in a remote desert zone of Oman.
Ramon's crater conditions are similar to those on Mars and will enable explorers to explore different aspects of the planet in an authentic environment.
"We are proud to have chosen Mitspe Ramon's beautiful and special zone for the simulation," said Minister of Science and Technology, Onir Akunis.
"The simulation will have scientific and even tourist value due to the breathtaking landscapes of Israel. The simulation is among the most advanced in the world and will promote space research and the glorious space industry of Israel. "
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