Israel to launch first ever space telescope with the help of NASA

The project is set to launch in 2026


Israel will launch a space telescope that will "revolutionise" experts' abilities to detect and understand events such as neutron star mergers and supernova explosions.

The Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite (ULTRASAT) telescope will be sent into orbit by a NASA rocket in 2026.

Once orbiting the earth, it will be positioned to monitor short-term events including black holes and supernovae.

The joint project between the Israel Space Agency and the Weizmann Institute of Science will be able to photograph an unprecedented field of view of 204 square degrees due to its wide vision field.

Mark Clampin, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA’s Washington DC headquarters said in a statement: “We are proud to join this partnership, an international effort that will help us better understand the mysteries of the hot, transient universe.

Israel Space Agency director Uri Oron said: "Groundbreaking science calls for cutting-edge technology. 

“Our requirements from ULTRASAT, such as a wide field of view, advanced ultraviolet sensitivity, and real-time data control and transfer are at the forefront of technological developments. Israel’s space industry can deliver these capabilities. 

“The Israel Space Agency is proud of the cooperation with NASA as a direct example of the strong partnership between the agencies, and of the Israeli space industry's technological effort involved in the development of the telescope."

Professor Eli Waxman, an astrophysicist at the Rehovot-based Weizmann Institute and head researcher for ULTRASAT said on Tuesday: “Leading international bodies such as NASA…have joined this Israeli-led project as partners, having recognised its scientific significance. It’s a science-driven partnership.”

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