Local companies struggle to gain footing with NASA, not for money but for reputation, they explain. A number of Israeli hi-tech companies have expressed a growing interest in providing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with components to be launched into space, something they appear to be willing to go to great lengths to achieve.
[...] some Israeli companies have managed to secure the desired deals. Sital Technologies, a private company from Kfar-Saba, is one that can boast a NASA collaboration. One of their products is currently used in the NASA LRO satellite, which was launched two months ago in order to scan the surface of the moon. Sital's component relays data from the satellite's radar to its laser unit, a project achieved by the company after NASA initiated contact with it in 2005. Sital's Marketing and Sales VP Duli Yariv said testing of their product lasted three years and that the deal wasn't particularly lucrative, amounting to only several thousands of dollars. "Money isn’t the main issue here. Working with NASA allowed us to bolster other projects and led us to collaborations with companies which produce communications, photography and meteorology satellites as well as combat aircrafts," he said.
LeukoDx, a company which produced a device used for conducting blood tests in space, is currently in contact with NASA while their product undergoes advanced testing. It has already completed a space simulation. In this case too, the company isn’t expected to profit large sums of money from the deal.
"What we'll be getting from NASA is funding for the continuation of the research which will enable us to build another set of similar products," said Julien Meissonnier, chemical engineer and LeukoDx's CEO.
Another Israeli company, Simbiotech, which focuses on energy production and operates in Ashkelon, landed a NASA contract for the production of gas from seaweed. Negotiations on a contract lasted over a year, during which the deal was almost canceled due to the Gaza offensive. "During Operation Cast Lead a NASA delegation visited us right when a Qassam rocket landed near the Ashkelon power station. We were prevented access to the site for three weeks but eventually the visit was held and ended successfully," Professor Ami Ben-Amotz, a scientific advisor in Simbiotech, said.
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NASA to launch Israeli technology: First Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to be launched Wednesday includes technology developed by Kfar-Saba based Sital company. 'This is proof Israelis are preferred over competitors around the world,' management says