Eytan Stibbe, a former flight pilot, is planning his journey to space as the second Israeli astronaut. The 62-year-old Israeli is set to launch on a mission with the International Space Station at the end of 2021. The launch will take off from Florida, and upcoming training will also take him to Russia and Germany. As one of the founders of the Ramon Foundation, Stibbe was inspired by his friend and former commander, Ilan Ramon. Ramon was the first Israeli to launch into space, who died along with 6 other crew members in the crash of the Columbia. A pilot for 43 years, Stibbe is finally expanding his route, and funding his own journey. He will be the oldest astronaut on record.
A ceremony was held to announce the mission at President Rivlin’s residence, honoring Stibbe and his new adventure, as well as honoring the memory of Ilan Ramon and his inspiration. The evening included a talk from Tal Ramon, son of the late astronaut, who has fond memories of Stibbe, and speaks of their family’s closeness throughout the years.
During the ceremony, Rivlin inspired the crowd, saying “This is a day of national joy, and great pride. An Israeli pilot with a blue-and-white flag embroidered on his shoulder will prove once again, as we have been showing here for 72 years, that even the sky isn’t our limit.”