Morris Kahn: Israel on the moon in 2024

Israel’s SpaceIL program is on track to launch a second spacecraft to the moon in mid-2024, said Morris Kahn, the 91-year-old entrepreneur who founded the program.

Kahn, one of Israel’s most accomplished entrepreneurs and philanthropists, spoke about his vision and achievements at Wednesday’s Global Investment Forum in Dubai, sponsored by the Jerusalem Post and the Khaleej Times.

In 2019, SpaceIL launched its Beresheet lunar lander into Israel’s first lunar mission and what would have been the world’s first non-government mission to land on the moon. However, it malfunctioned before its intended landing.

“When they told me the spacecraft had crashed, I told them, ‘it didn’t crash, we had a hard landing,’ Kahn said. After this setback, Kahn said that the Beresheet 2 mission under development will be much more advanced than the first test.

When asked if he would consider setting up a space joint venture with the United Arab Emirates, Kahn replied, “I can’t imagine anything better. If we could develop a space program by combining Israel and the Arab world, the impact and the message it would give would be great. “

The UAE and Israel both have their eyes on the stars and have the most advanced programs in the Middle East.

Abu Dhabi’s New Hope probe reached Mars orbit in February this year while Israel entered Moon orbit in 2019, but its small unmanned spacecraft named Beresheet crashed during landing in 2019.

Last year’s standardization deal between the two countries, under the rubric of the Abrahamic Accords, paved the way for joint ventures, and the UAE is considering possible participation in Israel’s Beresheet program.

The UAE’s March pledge of a $ 10 billion investment in Israel, including earmarking funds for space projects.

Kahn said his philanthropic endeavors are what brings him the most satisfaction in life. Its Save a Child’s Heart project has saved more than 5,700 children in countries where access to pediatric cardiac care is limited or non-existent. This project has been recognized for its humanitarian work by the United Nations, but “when you see the gratitude of a mother who brings her dying child, and brings it home like a vibrant child, the pleasure of see that really is the engine to continue. “

Kahn also provided free eye surgeries to some 6,000 people in the Ethiopian city of Jinka. “When I was 80, I got myself a birthday present,” Kahn said, “I was in Africa, and learned how diseases that make a person blind can be saved with an operation. about 25 minutes, and I said, it’s not just a good thing to do, it would be criminal for me not to do it. The first time we went there we traded on 600 people, and I’ve been going for ten years. “

Kahn also works with Bedouin communities in Israel to educate families about the genetic diseases that affect them, and said his research has helped reduce child mortality by around 35%. “The Bedouin immigrated to Israel from this region 400 years ago, and they have the same gene pool as the Emiratis,” Kahn told the audience. “I think there is a lot we can do to help Emiratis too, because we are sharing.”

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