Israel and UAE align for multi-million dollar moon mission

Israel and UAE align for multi-million dollar moon mission
The Israeli partnership with Abu Dhabi follows Israel and the UAE’s decision last year to 'normalise ties'.
2 min read
19 July, 2021
The "Beresheet 2" project will involve launching two landing crafts and an orbiter that would circle the moon for years [Getty]

Israel and the UAE are working on a multimillion-dollar lunar mission, announced by Israeli’s SpaceIL on Sunday. 

The non-profit organisation SpaceIL, funded by the Israeli government and other private donors, said it will partner with G42, an Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company. 

The partnership is part of the "Beresheet 2" project, Israel’s second attempt at an unmanned lunar landing for 2024. 

SpaceIL Chairman Morris Kahn called it a "historical collaboration", according to Chinese media. 

The Israeli billionaire said he met with senior officials and entrepreneurs in the UAE to discuss the lunar mission when visiting the country. 

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SpaceIL secured $70 million in private funding for the mission earlier this month, partly from donations by Kahn himself. The total cost of the project is $100 million, according to reports. 

The non-profit organisation already collaborates with government company Israel Aerospace Industries and the Israel Space Agency at the ministry of science and technology.  

The partnership with Abu Dhabi follows Israel and the UAE’s decision to "normalise relations" in August 2020. 

The move was denounced by people across the Arab world, but paved the way for more Arab states to normalise ties with Israel including Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.

Israel and the UAE have signed a raft of deals - ranging from tourism to aviation to financial services - since normalising ties as part of the so-called Abraham Accords brokered by former US President Donald Trump's administration. 

The UAE launched the Arab world’s first Mars mission almost one year ago. 

"Beresheet 2" plans to break several space records, according to reports - including a double landing, with one of the craft setting down on the far side of the moon.