Remembering The Columbia:
Ilan Ramon’s story begins with his service in the Air Force, through his training with NASA and ending with the tragic crash of the Columbia shuttle on Saturday, February 1, 2003, as she made her way back to Earth after the 16 day travel through space. The visitors center at Mitzpe Ramon tells Ramon’s story alongside the story of the unique geological crater known as Mitzpe Ramon Ilan Ramon’s son, Captain Assaf Ramon, who followed in his fathers footsteps and graduated the Air Force flying course with honors, is also commemorated within the center. He lost his life as well during a training flight. His plane crashed on Mount Hebron.
The ideological concept guiding the projects designers focused on making a connection between the heavens and Israel and between land and space. The center’s location rests at the edge of the Crater right outside the Mitzpe Ramon community. The visitor center over looks the beautiful desert landscape and attracts travelers passing through the area on their way to Eilat and back or who may be visiting the city as part of rest and relaxation at one of the hotels in the area. The Crater offers many outdoor adventures including biking and hiking.
The visitor center offers numerous photos, as well as large replicated model of the Columbia shuttle. A circular elevator takes visitors to the top of the shuttle. The geogological wonders of the area are portrayed within the exhibition as well.
If You Go:
The hours of operation are Sunday- Thursday 8:00-16:00
Last daily time to enter 1 hour prior to closing.
Guided tours need to be scheduled ahead of time at 08.658.8691
An on site information desk offers detailed maps of hikes and trails through the Ramon Crater.
Where To Stay:
For those with traveling on an endless budget, try out Isrotel’s newest property, Beresheet, situated on the edge of the Crater.
For those who are on a tighter budget – Isrotel’s Ramon Inn is a decent property.