SpaceIL team inspires next generation of engineers.
The library at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester in Hartsdale was packed with middle school students eagerly awaiting a special presentation from very special guests: members of the Israel SpaceIL team, which currently pursuing the goal of landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon.
“We’re a school that connects to Israel,” the high school’s science teacher, Danny Aviv, told the group. “That little country does amazing things for the world. One thing I would like you guys to learn and take home is that our contribution, of Israel, to the rest of the world is disproportional. One area in which that’s most evident is through technology.
“Three countries have made it to the moon — America, Russia and China,” he added. “Israel will be the fourth.”
SpaceIL (www.spaceil.com) was founded in 2010 as a non-profit whose goal goes beyond winning the Google Lunar X Prize (GLPX) competition by landing a spacecraft on the moon.
“It’s all about putting Israel on the moon,” said Yariv Bash, an engineer and one of the co-founders of SpaceIL, which now has 20 full-time employees and 250 volunteers on the team. “We’re the most advanced team in the competition.”
Unlike the other teams, which were working on large Rover exploration vehicles, said Bash, “we learned from the mistakes of other teams. We built the smallest craft, which will hop on the surface of the moon.”
The SpaceIL team is also working with Israeli industry. “This is almost a national project,” he added. When success is achieved, “We want all of Israel and Am Yisroel to be happy.”
Still, said Bash, “Our mission doesn’t stop when we land on the moon.” Bash, who was accompanied by Daniel Saat, the director of business development for SpaceIL, had another goal in meeting with students at Schechter as well as Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck. Beyond instilling pride in Israel among these young American Jews, His organization hopes that this project inspires young Israelis, and others, to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and math.
And that dovetailed with Aviv’s own goals for his Schechter students.
“They’re the next generation of engineers,” said Aviv. “I tell my students, ‘You can do it.’”
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