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Ilan Ramon memorial ceremony in Israel
JER2003021002 - LOD, Israel, February 10 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sits beside Rona Ramon, the widow of Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon and her children, during the state memorial service at an Air Force base at Lod, February 10, 2003. Col. Ilan Ramon was killed February 1, when the Columbia Space Shuttle broke up over Texas during its re-entry to Earth's atmosphere. mk/dh/Debbie Hill UPI
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Ilan Ramon (June 20, 1954 - February 1, 2003; Hebrew: אילן רמון‎) was a fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, and later the first Israeli astronaut. Ramon was the space shuttle payload specialist of STS-107, the fatal mission of Columbia, where he and six other crew members were killed in a re-entry accident over Southern Texas. Ramon is the only foreign recipient of the United States Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Ramon was born in Ramat Gan, Israel and grew up in Beersheba. His mother and grandmother are survivors of Auschwitz concentration camp.

Although a secular Jew and he described himself as such, 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 spaceflight participant to request kosher food.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ilan Ramon."
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