A privately funded space company – led by Technion alumnus Shimon Sarid – has signed a historic international agreement with the United Arab Emirates to fly to the Moon.

The SpaceIL Beresheet 2 mission is just one of several collaborative space missions and follows the historic Abraham Accords signed in 2020 to bolster relations between the two nations.

It follows Israel’s solo attempt to reach the moon in 2019 – the original Beresheet spacecraft – which ended in a crash landing.
“This is the first scientific-technological project to create a common history for the two peoples: the flags of Israel and the Emirates on the moon”, a SpaceIL statement says. “It is about creating a model for cooperation between the two peoples in many aspects — technological, scientific and educational, which will deepen the connection between the countries and serve as inspiration for further cooperation between Israel and all Arab countries.”

“SpaceIL has committed itself to promoting science and science education at the regional and global levels while also contributing to the processes of normalization and regional peace through collaborations with peace-loving and space-seeking countries,” CEO Shimon Sarid said at the signing ceremony.

“We are pleased to cooperate with the United Arab Emirates Space Agency, hand in hand with the [Israeli] Ministry of Science and the Israel Space Agency.”

It is hotly anticipated that the $100 million mission could break several records in outer-space history, including a double moon landing in one mission and the launch of the smallest ever aircraft.
The plan is to keep one of the orbiters in Space for about five years as a platform for educational activities, enabling scientific research to continue.

One such project will see university students from both Israel and UAE determine the precise time of the New Moon using data from the mission. The lunar calendar governs both Jewish and Muslim dates and major holidays.

Both the Israel Space Agency and the UAE Space Agency also plan to publish a call for joint research to use the mission’s data to examine phenomena related to the growing global climate crisis.
April marks both the International Day of Human Space Flight and International Earth Day.