Gazing Together Into Space:
Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and Israel Aerospace Industries to Collaborate on Student Project to Develop Nano Satellites
The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Technion has signed a cooperation agreement with the Space Division at Israel Aerospace Industries to develop and launch a nano-satellite that will enter low-altitude orbit around the moon and collect data using a payload of scientific instruments. The student-performed project will start in the beginning of the next academic year, in October 2021. It is expected to continue until it reaches completion in a few years.
IAI’s Space Division will assist the project in several ways, including, providing space engineers to help define, characterize, and closely mentor the students’ mission. Participating students will also be provided with tours of IAI’s space laboratories and facilities where satellites undergo experiments in an environment simulating outer space. At the end of the process, the students will be partners in launching the nano-satellite.
The joint project is the culmination of a faculty-wide process striving to balance two fields: aeronautics and outer space. According to Faculty Dean Professor Tal Shima, “while in the past only about 10% of the faculty syllabus was dedicated to space, over the past few years there has been an effort to change this and reach a more equal balance between the two fields. To achieve this. we updated the faculty curriculum and we are currently in the midst of the process of hiring new staff members with expertise in outer space. Cooperation with IAI’s space facility will allow us to expose students to additional joint projects with IAI focused on outer space. This is a fascinating field where activity in Israel and the world is stepping up and I hope to see as many students as possible focusing on it.”
“The project will allow students to become partners in a project with the industry and help them reach the end of their studies prepared to be integrated into Israel’s developing space industry,” said Professor Gil Yudilevitch, who initiated and leads the cooperation on the faculty. On IAI’s side, the project will be headed by the faculty alumnus Niko Adamsky, who today serves as a space engineer in IAI’s Space Division.
Shlomi Sudri, VP and GM of IAI’s Space Division said during the signing ceremony, “IAI is leading a process to strengthen cooperation with the Technion through a project for students in the field of nano-satellites. This will open a whole new world for them, a world that includes innovative system design. They will be able to gain experience in engineering a unique system in the field of space exploration. The dimension of space necessitates engineering and system capabilities with specialized knowledge. For the students, this is an opportunity to integrate into the field of space in Israel, to be exposed to the wide industry working on outer space, and to get a taste of the engineering and infrastructure capabilities that exist in IAI.”
The agreement was signed shortly after a delegation of senior IAI officials, headed by President and CEO of IAI Boaz Levy, who is an alumnus of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, visited the Technion and met with Technion President Professor Uri Sivan and the Deputy President of Research, Professor Kobi Rubinstein. IAI’s delegation also included Guy Bar Lev, Interim Director of the Systems, Missiles and Space Division, and VP and GM of IAI’s Space Division, Shlomi Sudri.
Technion President Prof. Uri Sivan said, “the connection between industry and academia is important and fruitful for both sides, and connecting with a significant and large entity such as IAI is an important step. The interface between academia and industry is changing fast and the Technion is investing great efforts in being established in Israel and internationally. We are working to promote close research cooperation and to turn the Technion into a hub for many diverse industries, a platform where industry and academia meet. We are quickly working to commercialize technologies that originated on campus. The past year has been a record one in establishing startup companies in the Technion. Another expression of the strengthening ties comes in establishing specialized routes for learning and vocational training for people in the industry who are interested in lifelong learning.”
IAI President and CEO Boaz Levy said “As an alumnus of the Technion, accompanying projects and different mentoring programs over the years, I am excited by the existing and future cooperation between IAI and the Technion. We must strengthen cooperation with the Technion, especially the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, which is unique to its kind in Israel, and which holds a leadership position among similar faculties worldwide. Increasing our cooperation with the Technion produces added value to both sides and will help us strengthen and integrate in creating groundbreaking, challenging, and leading technology in Israel and abroad. To this end, it is important we formulate together the image of the engineer we envision – an involved engineer with system-wide perspective and deep business understanding and research capabilities.”