Israel and Russia have signed a deal to cooperate and share technology in space research and exploration.
The agreement between the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Israel Space Agency covers space research, observation, navigation, medicine and biology in space, research in advanced materials and launchings.
The two countries currently cooperate through a deal allowing Russian rockets to carry Israeli satellites into orbit.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the agreement reflected the ‘impressive development’ in relations between the two countries.
“I had excellent talks in Moscow with both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. In my talks with the latter, we agreed to increase cooperation in space, which now finds practical expression in the signing of this agreement,” he said.
“What Minister Hershkovitz said is the truth. One year ago, I told him that I thought that Israel’s most natural partner for cooperation is Russia, which has a major infrastructure for space operations. We have focused technology, including – I believe – six satellites in space. Soon we will have a dozen.”
Israel already has agreements with the European Space Agency, as well as the national agenciues of France and Italy. Its satellite technologies tend to excel in terms of small size and weight – a by-product of the country’s military programs.
Uniquely, Israel launches its satellites westwards, to avoid problems with its eastern neighbors, putting even greater pressure on its technicians to reduce weight.
One of the first products of the deal is likely to be a remote sensing micro-system weighing less than 230 kilograms for Earth observations.