NASA astronauts arrive for Israeli Space Week

The annual Israeli Space Week honoring Israel’s first astronaut, the late Col. Ilan Ramon, kicked off on Sunday with much fanfare.

The events, which will run through Saturday, are organized by the Science Ministry and the Israel Space Agency. Participants will have more than 25 different activities to choose from, all free of charge, including space-related experiments and lectures and discussions with several astronauts: NASA’s Shannon Walker and Joseph Acaba, South Korea’s Soyeon Yi, and Italian-born Samantha Cristoforetti, from the European Space Agency. Former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman will join them.

Ramon and six other crew members were killed when the Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on Feb. 1, 2003, as it re-entered the atmosphere on a trip back from space.

“The goal is to get as many young people as possible exposed to space research and develop their sense of curiosity in the sciences,” Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis said Sunday.