October 4, 2022

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Second-Ever Astronaut from Israel Blasts Off Into Space

3 min read

In recent news, Eytan Stibbe successfully took his flight into space from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After much preparation and various delays, he finally blasted off at 11:17 am Eastern time, thus becoming the second-ever astronaut from the State of Israel. The 64-year-old has formerly served as a fighter pilot and is currently leading the Rakia mission of Israel, as part of Ax-1, Axiom Space. This is the world’s first ever private mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The former pilot was joined by other men as well, namely a retired astronaut from NASA, who was representing the first foray of the agency into space tourism. Michael Lopez-Algeria was appointed the commander of the mission, who is the Spanish-American Vice President of Axiom Space. 

Other astronauts on board included Larry Connor, a nonprofit activist investor and US entrepreneur, who will be acting as the mission pilot of Ax-1. Mark Pathy, a researcher from Canada, was appointed to be the mission specialist of Ax-1. The astronauts took off in the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and will be spending no less than 10 days in orbit. This will also include spending eight days on the station. It has been anticipated that the capsule will dock to the port of the ISS Harmony module, from its space-facing port. This will take place around 7:45 am Eastern Time, on the 9th of April. Just nine minutes before the capsule took off, Stibbe bid goodbye in Hebrew, before switching to the English language. 

He spoke how he was just minutes away from blasting off into space and wanted to share a couple of words spoken by Constantine Cavafy, a Greek poet, with the world. In his words, he was going to describe the perspective of the brilliant and hard-working crew he had had the pleasure of working with. It has further been revealed that the Ax-1 crew will be taking part in an educational outreach program and carry out innovative research experiments, while they are on the orbiting laboratory. As per Axiom Space, the experts will be carrying out no less than 25 technology and scientific research demonstrations. 

Stibbe, on the other hand, has been preparing to complete no less than a series of 35 experiments, during his time aboard the ISS. A couple of his experiments will include clean meat, which is cultivated under conditions of microgravity, a vest to protect against radiation, several art projects, and tech to combat neuro-ocular syndrome associated with spaceflight. This includes intracranial pressure and visual impairment due to long space missions. 

All the experiments on the list were given final approval by the Ramon Foundation, which is the Israeli Space Agency. Moreover, the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology, also helped in finalizing these experiments and were instrumental in sending the second-ever astronaut from Israel into space. The space mission was first announced in November of 2020. The president of the Jewish state at the time, Reuven Rivlin, had given a speech saying that a second astronaut going into space from Israel was a day of immense pride and national celebration. 

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