Early next year, an Israeli mission will launch four astronauts on a SpaceX rocket to test dozens of new technologies that could allow the next generation of space travel.
Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement on Wednesday that the Rakia Mission, which will include Israeli businessman Eytan Stibbe, will test more than 40 locally built technologies in the International Space Station. It said that super-fast-charging batteries and viscous liquid telescope lenses, which pack more magnifying power in a smaller, simpler box, are among the technologies being studied.
The mission is part of Axiom Space’s larger goal of being the first commercial space station operator. Companies like Axiom, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are attempting to commercialize what was previously only available to government agencies. In the coming decades, a variety of countries hope to send astronauts to Mars. According to Ran Livne, Chief Executive Officer of the Ramon Foundation and head of Rakia, more than 100 people will travel into space in the next ten years.
According to the ministry, the project is contingent on the mission’s ability to collect funds to cover the costs and NASA’s acceptance of the technologies. The Israeli government will “issue a request for assistance in fundraising once the state’s budget has been approved,” and the Ramon Foundation, named after Israel’s first astronaut, will seek alternative funding sources, according to the statement.
As missions become more frequent and complex, developing more effective ways to track astronaut health will be critical to the industry’s development. Life support systems would make up about 75% of the experimental technologies on board, according to Livne.
“When people talk about going to Mars, they’re talking about a two- to three-year mission, and we have no idea how the body will react,” he said.
Healthy.io’s urine diagnostic tool, which converts pictures of dipsticks taken with smartphones into clinical results in minutes and is now in use in the United Kingdom, is one of the innovations that will be put to the test.