Israel’s SpaceIL is back on track to launch a second spacecraft to the moon in mid-2024 and the United Arab Emirates is expected to join the initiative, the organization’s chairman Morris Kahn said on Wednesday. Global Investment Forum in Dubai.
“SpaceIL has decided to launch Beresheet 2,” the 91-year-old philanthropist and entrepreneur said at the conference jointly organized by the Jerusalem Post and the Khaleej Times. Earlier this year, the 2024 launch was canceled, but according to Kahn, it will head into the orbit of the moon as planned.
In an on-stage interview with Jerusalem Report editor-in-chief Steve Linde, Kahn was asked if he wanted the UAE to participate in Israel’s lunar mission.
“It would be wonderful if we could develop a space program that would be a combination of Israel and the Arab world,” Kahn said.
“I would appreciate it, if it fits the UAE’s agenda. They have an ambitious agenda,” Kahn said, adding that such a joint initiative would be “the pinnacle of my success and involvement in the space”.
The UAE and Israel both have their eyes on the stars and have the most advanced programs in the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi’s New Hope probe reached Mars orbit in February this year, while Israel entered moon orbit in 2019. It was a small unmanned spacecraft named Beresheet that took malfunctioned and crashed into the moon just before its eagerly awaited landing.
The Beresheet Project, organized by the nonprofit SpaceIL, is the first private space initiative and the first solo Israeli attempt to reach the moon. Kahn was a major donor to his 2019 mission, which is estimated to cost $ 100 million.
Last year’s standardization deal between the two countries, under the rubric of the Abrahamic Accords, paved the way for joint ventures, and the UAE is considering possible participation in Israel’s Beresheet program.
The UAE’s March pledge of a $ 10 billion investment in Israel included earmarking funds for space projects.
“When they said the spaceship we launched crashed [in 2019], I said it didn’t crash, it had a hard landing, ”Kahn joked. “This time, we have a spacecraft that will orbit the Moon for two or three years,” he explained, adding that he would collect scientific data and have two smaller vessels that would be attached.
The SpaceIL lunar program was executed in collaboration with the government, including the Israel Space Agency and Israel Aerospace Industries.
Kahn also spoke about an operational program he supported, which involved genetic research with the Bedouin community in Israel that helped reduce the infant mortality rate by 35%. This could be adapted to the UAE, he said. “We can do a lot to help the UAE. “
Kahn said his philanthropic endeavors are what brings him the most satisfaction in life. Kahn works with Bedouin communities in Israel to educate families about the genetic diseases that affect them, and said his research has helped reduce child mortality by around 35%. “The Bedouin immigrated to Israel from this region 400 years ago, and they have the same gene pool as the Emiratis,” Kahn told the audience. “I think there is a lot we can do to help Emiratis too, because we are sharing.”
Its Save a Child’s Heart project has saved more than 5,700 children in countries where access to pediatric cardiac care is limited or non-existent. This project has been recognized for its humanitarian work by the United Nations, but “when you see the gratitude of a mother who brings her child who is going to die, and she brings him home as a dynamic child, the pleasure of seeing that really is the engine to continue.
Kahn also provided free eye surgeries to some 6,000 people in the Ethiopian city of Jinka. “When I was 80, I got myself a birthday present,” Kahn said, “I was in Africa and learned how diseases that make a person blind can be saved with surgery. ‘about 25 minutes, and I said, it’s not just a good thing to do, it would be criminal for me not to do it. The first time we went, we operated on 600 people, and j ‘been going there for ten years.
When asked for his opinion of others who want to follow his example and make the world a better place, Kahn said, “If I look back at my life and ask myself ‘what are you doing? did that really make sense? ‘ I think I have indirectly touched the lives of a lot of people.