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Peters, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill Supporting U.S.-Israel Space Cooperation

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Gary Peters (MI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today introduced bipartisan legislation to support the longstanding partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA). Cooperation between the two agencies has resulted in a host of beneficial achievements, including work on global positioning systems (GPS) and the Mars Curiosity Rover.

“From the groundbreaking discoveries of the Curiosity Rover to the tragic loss of the men and women aboard the Columbia, Israel and the United States have formed a deep and lasting bond in our mutual pursuit of scientific discovery,” said Senator Peters. “Strengthening this partnership will help ensure the United States and our allies can continue leading the development of cutting-edge technology and innovation through our shared journey to the stars.”

“Israel has been a strong and close ally to the United States on numerous fronts, and space is no exception,” Senator Cruz said. “For 30 years, we’ve partnered with the Israel Space Agency to push the bounds of human space exploration. I am proud to join Senator Peters in introducing the U.S. and Israel Space Cooperation Act to further enhance and strengthen our space cooperation with Israel, as we look to explore the final frontier together.”

“The partnership between the U.S. and Israeli space programs is helping pave the way for a human landing on Mars,” said Senator Nelson.

“The United States and Israel are allies that share a strong working relationship in a variety of areas, including military and space cooperation,” said Senator Gardner. “It is important we continue the strong partnership our two countries’ space agencies have maintained in the future and this bill will help in that effort.”

The U.S.-Israel Space Cooperation Act directs the NASA Administrator to continue working in cooperation with the ISA to further peaceful space exploration and scientific discovery while taking appropriate measures to protect U.S. intellectual property and other sensitive information. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved companion legislation in December 2017.

NASA began working with the ISA in 1985 on a case-by-case basis, and the two agencies entered into a formal agreement in 1996. Israeli technology played a vital role in the successful launch of the Curiosity Rover, which is currently sending valuable data about Mars to scientists at NASA. In 2003, the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, joined the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia on its tragic final mission, orbiting Earth for 15 days before breaking up on re-entry.