One small step for technology, one giant leap for Israel… to paraphrase a certain famous quote from way back when!
In a year when we’ve seen SpaceX trial flight, its illustrious Starship rocket, and with the European Space Agency (ESA) sending a spacecraft to explore Jupiter’s moons, it seems hard to think that more is to come. However, this isn’t the case of course, as we are likely to see the brainchild of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin come to life with New Glenn’s maiden launch later in the year along with the first-ever commercial spacewalk to be conducted by SpaceX in July. To call it a busy year would be an astronomical understatement (apologies as this will not be the last pun of the post)…
Yet, where does Israel fit into all of this? Ever since the unfortunate events of April 2019, when the country’s Beresheet lunar rocket crashed on the Moon, Israel has stepped up its impetus to right the wrongs of the mission and have already planned a Beresheet 2.0 for 2024. Since the unfortunate landing of Earth’s nearest neighbor, the government has pledged to invest just over $180 million in the country’s space industry. Aiming to quadruple sector employment, increase academic research from both a high level and more grassroots and encourage private sector spending to well over $1 billion. It is not just the moon which is Israel is concerned with but also beyond the stars, as it was announced in February this year that NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) will collaborate to launch ULTRASAT, the first Israeli space telescope, in order to detect cosmic events in the deep corners of the universe. The star of the show (another one there I’m sorry) is going to be the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot who will be helping to build the satellite in parallel with the ISA. The telescope is looking to take orbit in 2026 and will propel (…) Israel’s space industry into a galaxy far far away.
Space technology plays a key role in the fight on the global climate crisis, it provides us with opportunities to improve the observation of changes such as in temperatures, heat islands, sea level, fires, floods, etc. Thus, the collaboration between the Israel Space Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with allow groundbreaking progress to build regional climate resilience. For example, national risk maps would enable us to collect information in all tiers from space, the air, water, and land, towards creating sensitive maps that will allow us to understand where it is essential to act with the greatest urgency.
Space is not just the distant black holes and large-scale sonic events outside of our galaxy, but it is also much closer to home than we think in the form of the low/mid-Earth orbits that are congested with thousands of satellites. It is within this satellite network that Israel has a major presence and some fantastic technology that affects everyday life on Earth.
Below are some of the solutions and systems that are part of this ecosystem and are slowly growing into major players in the global space industry:
SpacePharma is focused on using microgravity, or virtual weightlessness, for research and development. The company has developed end-to-end miniaturized lab systems, equipped with sensors and readers, capable of working on different microgravity platforms. The company has introduced mGnify, a miniaturized end-to-end lab that can be remotely controlled from anywhere and used with different microgravity platforms, including SpacePharma’s nanosatellites.
Hisky provides a satellite communication network system that enables the provision of robust, low-cost satellite services to large numbers of users, all over the globe. Operating on GEO and LEO satellites, the company’s network comprises satellite terminals and hub base stations, a mobile application, an IoT/M2M interface, and application servers.
Satixfy is a leading provider of satellite and quasi-satellite communication technology designed to radically reduce the cost, size, weight, and power of user terminals, payloads, and gateway equipment while increasing performance. The company targets very large markets, including communities unconnected to the internet, IoT devices for private networks and rural areas, and drone communications.
Planet Watchers is a SaaS solution designed to help enterprises, governments, and NGOs monitor their natural assets across multiple sectors. The company’s geospatial technology combines machine learning algorithms, elastic cloud infrastructure, and multi-source satellite sensors to deliver a robust monitoring and alert system that provides critical information for the management of large-scale assets at a regional and global scale. The system provides information such as growth anomaly identification, crop-yield predictions, and risk calculations associated with various aspects of natural resources.