Thursday, February 3, 2011

Deputy Administrator Lori Garver Visits Israel For International Space Conference

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver returned Feb. 1 from a four-day trip to Israel where she represented NASA at an international space conference, met with students and paid tribute to the memory of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

Garver’s visit was highlighted by her participation in the Sixth Annual Ilan Ramon International Space Conference, a two-day forum for Israel’s space community to discuss technologies, programs and strategies with representatives from around the world. The conference included meetings with European Space Agency Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz, Menachem Greenblum, director general of Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology, and Israel Space Agency Director General Zvi Kaplan.

Garver delivered a keynote address Jan. 30 that highlighted the importance of international cooperation.

“We’re now entering our second decade with a continuous human presence in space,” Garver said. “This was the future that Ilan Ramon contributed to. It is a future that we strive to create every day at NASA. It is our great privilege and honor to do that work with Israel and the rest of the international community.”

Ramon was Israel’s first and only astronaut. He and six crewmates aboard space shuttle Columbia died on Feb. 1, 2003, when their ship broke apart en route to a planned landing in Florida. Garver commemorated the eighth anniversary of the tragedy with a Jan. 31 visit to Ramon’s gravesite at a cemetery near Nahalal, Israel. There, she placed wreaths on the graves of Ramon and his son, Asaf, an Israeli air force pilot who died in a 2009 training accident.

Garver also took time during her trip to meet with Israeli students. On Jan. 30, she participated in a space and science workshop at Tel Aviv University, addressing a packed assembly and answering questions from the audience. The following day, on Jan. 31, Garver visited the Ort Brotherhood Gilboa’a Comprehensive School in Naura, Israel, where she met with more than 30 students. Some of the students took the top prize in Israel’s FIRST robotics competition in 2010 and participated in the international finals in Atlanta.

News media representatives seeking additional information on the trip should contact Michael Cabbage in NASA’s Office of Communication at or 202-358-1600.

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