Eight years ago, the space shuttle Colombia took off with a mission to explore planet Earth and micro gravity from space. In the space shuttle were seven astronauts. One of them was Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut sent to space.
Ramon served in the air force during his military service. He served in the electronic warfare and later as a fighter pilot. In 1995 the US and Israel signed an agreement, which stated that one Israeli astronaut will take part in a NASA spaceflight. In 1997 the air force chose Ramon to be that astronaut.
In 1998 Ramon and his family moved to the astronauts training facility in the United States. On January 13, 2003 the Columbia shuttle finally took off.
Ramon took many objects that represented the Israeli society – especially flags with symbols connected to his life, such as the air force flag, a flag with the symbol of the Israeli space agency, etc. Ramon also took a miniature bible, which he received from a Holocaust survivor and a copy of a painting called Earth at the Moon, which was painted by Peter Ginz, a boy in Theresienstad, during the Holocaust.
On February 1, 2003, the shuttle was reentering Earth and had exploded on the way – all the astronauts on board the shuttle died.
Even today, everyone in Israel still remember Ramon and his great accomplishment.
Ramon’s eldest son, Asaf, followed his father’s footsteps and joined the air force. On September13, 2009, several weeks after completing his course, Asaf tragically died during an operational training flight.
Remembering Ilan (video from Sharet65 on youtube.com)