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Ilan Ramon Biography
Ilan Ramon (June 20, 1954 - February 1, 2003) was an astronaut and space shuttle payload specialist of STS-107 (Columbia) who was killed when the craft disintegrated during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere.

Air Force Career
Ramon was a Colonel and fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, with thousands of hours flying experience. He fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. In 1980, he was in the first group of Israeli pilots to fly F-16s donated to Israel by the United States. In 1981, he took part in the bombing of Iraq's unfinished Osiraq nuclear reactor.

Ramon's mother and grandmother survived imprisonment in Auschwitz during the Holocaust.

Personal data
Born June 20, 1954 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Died on February 1, 2003 over the southern United States when Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew perished during entry, 16 minutes prior to scheduled landing. He is survived by his wife Rona and their four children. He enjoyed snow skiing, squash.

Although a secular Jew, Ramon sought to follow Jewish observances while in orbit. In an interview he said, "I feel I am representing all Jews and all Israelis". He was the first astronaut on a NASA flight to request kosher food; because of space constraints, not all the food was certified kosher.

He also gathered rabbinic opinions about observing the Jewish sabbath (Shabbat) while in space, since the period between sunrises in orbit is approximately 90 minutes. Ironically, Ramon commented that he got so caught up in his work aboard the shuttle that he forgot to observe Shabbat.

Ramon was the first Israeli in space.

Aboard STS-107, Ramon carried a pencil sketch, "Moon Landscape", which was drawn by 14-year-old Peter Ginz who was killed in Germany's Auschwitz death camp during the Holocaust. Ramon also brought a credit card-sized microfiche copy of the Bible given to him by Israeli president Moshe Katsav.

1972: Graduated from High School
1987: Received a bachelor of science degree in electronics and computer engineering from the University of Tel Aviv, Israel

Posthumously awarded:
the NASA Space Flight Medal
the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal
the Congressional Space Medal of Freedom
Asteroid 51828 Ilanramon was posthumously named after Ramon
Israeli national hero

Special honors
Yom Kippur War (1973)
Operation Peace for Galilee (1982)
F-16 1,000 Flight Hours (1992).

In 1974, Ramon graduated as a fighter pilot from the Israel Air Force (IAF) Flight School. From 1974-1976 he participated in A-4 Basic Training and Operations. 1976-1980 was spent in Mirage III-C training and operations. In 1980, as one of the IAF’s establishment team of the first F-16 Squadron in Israel, he attended the F-16 Training Course at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. From 1981-1983, he served as the Deputy Squadron Commander B, F-16 Squadron. From 1983-1987, he attended the University of Tel Aviv. From 1988-1990, he served as Deputy Squadron Commander A, F-4 Phantom Squadron. During 1990, he attended the Squadron Commanders Course. From 1990-1992, he served as Squadron Commander, F-16 Squadron. From 1992-1994, he was Head of the Aircraft Branch in the Operations Requirement Department. In 1994, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and assigned as Head of the Department of Operational Requirement for Weapon Development and Acquisition. He stayed at this post until 1998.

Colonel Ramon accumulated over 3,000 flight hours on the A-4, Mirage III-C, and F-4, and over 1,000 flight hours on the F-16.

NASA Experience
In 1997, Colonel Ramon was selected as a Payload Specialist. He was designated to train as prime for a Space Shuttle mission with a payload that included a multispectral camera for recording desert aerosol. In July 1998, he reported for training at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, where he trained until 2003. He flew aboard STS-107, logging 15 days, 22 hours and 20 minutes in space.

Space flight experience
STS-107 Columbia (January 16 to February 1, 2003). The 16-day flight was a dedicated science and research mission. Working 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts, the crew successfully conducted approximately 80 experiments. The STS-107 mission ended abruptly on February 1, 2003 when Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew perished during entry, 16 minutes before scheduled landing.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ilan Ramon.