איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
Israel's flag on Eytan Stibbe's spacesuit
Photo: Axiom Space & SpaceX
Eytan Stibbe

Israel's 2nd astronaut in history thrilled ahead of space flight

Eytan Stibbe says he can't wait to look at the earth from the window, conduct experiments; says among personal items he is taking with him will be pages from his friend and Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon's journal

Alexandra Lukash, Ran Rimon |
Published: 03.31.22, 22:35
Israel's second astronaut in history Eytan Stibbe shared with Ynet on Thursday his excitement for the upcoming journey to space.
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  • "My level of excitement is approaching the end of the atmosphere and even space. We have been in isolation for a week, and it is less than a week until our launch," Stibbe said.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
    איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
    Eytan Stibbe
    (Photo: Axiom Space & SpaceX)
    Stibbe will take off in a SpaceX spaceship named "Dragon 2" and will be part of a 10-day mission at the International Space Station. Currently, he is in isolation to prepare for the launch, which has been postponed twice already.
    "We are in isolation, we have a work plan which prepares us for the journey, and for the work planned at the International Space Station," he said
    "The experiments themselves have already begun, medical experiments and experiments of collecting materials. All of these things have already started and in these are experiments we collect data before, during, and after. For example, you learn the impact of cosmic radiation and the effect of a lack of gravity on human physiology," Stibbe said.
    In addition to the experiments, Stibbe said that "everything about looking at the earth is very exciting, sitting in a window, watching the lightning storms, looking at our spaceship, on earth, and thinking about how we have to preserve it, all of this is very fascinating and exciting. There are some experiments that don't involve me actively, but they are no less scientifically important," he said.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
    איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
    Eytan Stibbe and the crew that will fly with him
    (Photo: Axiom Space & SpaceX, Chris Gunn)
    "We will be a total of 11 astronauts in the station, and each of us has his own work plan. But there are also a lot of things that will require the assistance of others, and we can't do them alone. For example, helping with photography or experiments. Therefore we need to learn the each others' schedules at the station and how can we help each other with the tasks," he explained.
    Stibbe spoke of the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003. "We were close friends and the thought of him encouraged me to go on this journey. Our team's training was in the same areas that he trained and we had the same guides who have trained astronauts for 20 years, that's very special."
    Stibbe said that he wasn't concerned about tension between American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine. "This subject doesn't exist on the space station, the work continues as usual."
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
    איתן סטיבה בחליפת חלל
    Eytan Stibbe in his spacesuit
    (Photo: Axiom Space & SpaceX)
    "Three new cosmonauts arrived at the station a week ago, and on Wednesday two Russian cosmonauts and an American astronaut who was there for almost a year returned," he said.
    "The collaboration is excellent, we move from one place to another inside the space station, use each other's labs and resources, meet each morning to discuss the work plan, and eat dinner together. There is no political discussion at the station," he added.
    Stibbe's mission won't only include science experiments. He will bring with him quite a few things he received.
    "Besides the work schedule, for my free time, I will have some private items that I'm taking with me. Souvenirs my grandchildren and my parents gave me, a lot of sentimental things I got from friends, from the Israeli president who gave me a prayer scroll for the safety of Israel, a bible, and an ancient coin. In addition, the Ramon family gave me copies of pages from Ilan Ramon's journal that somehow survived the spaceship crash."
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