WASHINGTON - Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz met with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday and discussed with him the possibility of sending a second Israeli astronaut into space. The two met during a state dinner at NASA's Washington headquarters.
"We talked about it, but the timing isn't clear because of the suspension of manned missions in NASA. It may happen in a Russian spaceship," Hershkowitz told Ynet.
The minister said the conversation mainly focused on NASA's interest in Israeli technological developments. "We're going for grandiose collaborations in areas NASA needs us. There are talks about collaboration in at least three areas where Israel is a leading force in the world of space."
According to Hershkowitz, the US agency showed interest in Israel's ability to create light satellites which weigh a fifth of American and European satellites while having the same capabilities. Light satellites can be launched from aircrafts and not only from ballistic missiles.
Another Israeli speciality that caught NASA's attention is hyperspectral cameras which can detect land, air and sea pollution from space and classify types of soils and minerals.
The two also discussed Israeli developments in the field of satellite antennas aimed at analyzing photos using radars. NASA is planning to map out Venus, and Israeli technology could help it see through the planet's layer of clouds.
"We're in a very premature stage and have yet to discuss the details of purchase, exchange of information and collaboration. What is clear is that our relationship is tightening," the minister noted.