“To the moon and back”: Israeli businessman and philanthropist, founder of SpaceIL and Amdocs Maurice Kahn, participated today (Wednesday) in the Jerusalem Post’s 2021 Global Investment Forum and khaleej times. Kahn said that Israel and the United Arab Emirates should establish a joint space program: “I can not think of anything better, it would be wonderful if we could develop a space program that would be a combination of Israel and the Arab world.”
“I would appreciate it if it fits into the plan that the Emirates have, they have an ambitious plan,” added Kahn, who said that “such a joint initiative will be my record achievement in terms of my involvement in space.”
Both the United Arab Emirates and Israel are staring at the stars, boasting the most advanced space programs in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi’s new spacecraft arrived on Mars’ orbit in February this year, while Israel entered the lunar orbit in 2019, but its small unmanned spacecraft, “Genesis”, crashed when it landed on the moon in 2019.
The Genesis project, backed by a non-profit SpaceIL, is the first private space initiative. Kahn, as mentioned, serves as chairman of SpaceIL and was one of the main contributors to the mission in 2019, which is estimated to be valued at $ 100 million.
The normalization agreement between the two countries last year paved the way for joint ventures, and the UAE considered possible participation in the Genesis program.
In fact, the commitment of the United Arab Emirates, with an investment of $ 10 billion in Israel, includes the allocation of funds for space projects. Plans were launched within months for the new mission, “Genesis 2”, with the goal of returning to the moon, and the target date (2024) has already been set. “SpaceIL has decided to launch Genesis 2,” Kahn said at the conference.
“When they said the spacecraft we launched crashed I said it did not crash, it had a hard landing. This time we have a spacecraft that will orbit the moon for two or three years,” he said. Kahn explained that he would collect scientific data, noting that he had two smaller spacecraft attached.
SpaceIL’s lunar program was carried out in collaboration with the government, including the Israeli Space Agency and the Israel Aerospace Industries. Kahn also spoke about a program he supported, which included genetic research with the Bedouin in Israel, which helped reduce infant mortality rates by 35 percent. “It can be adapted to the UAE,” Kahn said in this context, “there are many things we can do to help the UAE.”