NASA Director Charles Bolden was on hand Monday for the launching of Israel’s new science and space center that might host future Israeli astronauts.

Bolden is in Israel for the seventh annual Herzliya Space Conference marking the Columbia Space shuttle tragedy 10 years ago, which took the lives of seven astronauts, including Israel’s Ilan Ramon.

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The NASA director and 13 other international space directors are attending the conference

The new “Moona” space center is located in Galilee region, between the Haifa coast and the Kinneret.

Bolden explained to children on hand for the event that spaces shuttles connect astronauts from all over the world regardless of “culture, religion, race, gender or nationality they are.”

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