Israeli astronaut will take 1,900-year-old Jewish coin with him to the ISS – after paying $55 MILLION for a seat on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

  • The coin was minted during the Jewish revolts against the Romans in Jerusalem
  • It comes from the Bar Kokhba revolt, which took place from 132 to 136 AD
  • Etan Stibbe will carry the coin to the International Space Station  next year
  • Stibbe is one of three men who paid $55M for a private Axiom flight
  • The trio are set to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to the space ship 

An ancient coin minted by Jewish rebels revolting against the Romans 1,900 years ago will accompany former Israeli pilot Etan Stibbe to the International Space Station (ISS) next year.

Stibbe, 63, is one of three men who paid $55 million each to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for Axiom’s first privately crewed mission.

The coin comes from the Bar Kokhba revolt, which took place from 132 to 136 AD and was the final of three Jewish-Roman wars that first began when Romans took control of Jerusalem in 63 AD.

It bears etchings of a palm tree on one side and a vine leaf with the inscription ‘Year Two of the liberty of Israel’ on the other.’

‘I saw the coin, minted with the palm tree and vines leave, that for me represent the connection to the land, the love of the country, and the desire of the population of Israel in those years for independence,’ Stibbe said in a statement, according to The Jerusalem Post.

‘The palm tree particularly touched me, as it is the symbol of the Agricultural Research Organization, at Volcani Center, where my father spent his life conducting research on the country’s soil.’

WHO IS THE GUY ON THE LEFT IN THE PIC? 

An ancient coin minted by Jewish rebels revolting against the Romans 1,900 years ago will accompany former Israeli pilot Etan Stibbe (right) to the International Space Station next year. Pictured right is Eli Eskosido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, presenting the coin

Stibbe flew combat missions for the Israeli Air Force and later went on to found investment firm Vital Capital. 

He will also be just the second Israeli to every fly to space – Ilan Roman was the first in 2003.

Roman was a space shuttle payload specialist aboard the Columbia, which tragically disintegrated during re-entry and killed all seven crew members.

Nonetheless, Stibbe is hopeful about the Axiom and SpaceX mission early next year.

The coin comes from the Bar Kokhba revolt, which took place from 132 to 136 AD and was the final of three Jewish-Roman wars that first began when Romans took control of Jerusalem in 63 AD. It bears etchings of a palm tree on one side

A vine leaf with the inscription ‘Year Two of the liberty of Israel’ is seen on the other side of the coin

‘Obviously there’s some fear, and this is definitely extreme. And then there are risks, and I’m aware of the risks,’ Stibbe told the Washington Post in January.

Along with a bag of filled with items that have a special meaning, Stibbe will also carry the sacred Jewish coin that was recently uncovered in the Cave of Horror during the challenging Judean Desert Survey and Excavations Project carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

IAA director Eli Eskosido said in a statement: ‘The fact that Eytan chose to take with him to space an ancient item bearing symbolic significance is very exciting and meaningful. 

‘This is a historic meeting between the ancient world and the height of human innovation. 

‘The Jewish rebels who struck this coin 1,900 years ago while fighting for their lives and independence could not have imagined in their wildest dreams that after many centuries, this item will make its way to outer space with a Jewish astronaut who lives in an independent Jewish state.’

Stibbe (left) will be joined by Larry Connor (right) and Mark Pathy (second right), and led by retired NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría (second left), who has traveled to space four times and is now the vice president of Aximo Space 

The coin bears the name of Shimon Bar Kokhba, who led the final revolt against the Romans.

The revolts initially started over religious restrictions imposed on the Jews, along with the Romans building a city on top of ruins in Jerusalem – including a pagan temple where a sacred Jewish temple once stood.  

Three major wars were fought between the Jews and Romans over the span of 70 years.

The First Jewish-Roman War was from 66 to 70 AD, which was followed by the Kitos War in 115 through 117 AD and finally, the Bar Kokhba revolt that took place from 132 to 136 AD.

Dr Gabriela Bijovsky, a coin specialist at the IAA, said in a statement: ‘Interestingly, the rebels used existing Roman coins and re-struck them with their own themes and messages.

‘Such an act was an outrageous affront to the Roman rulers. These coins had first and foremost a symbolic meaning as Jewish propaganda, as they could be used for commerce only among the rebels themselves.’

Stibbe will be joined by Larry Connor and Mark Pathy, and led by retired NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, who has traveled to space four times and is now the vice president of Axiom Space.

Connor, 70, is the managing partner of a real estate investment firm based in Ohio and Pathy, 51, is the chief executive of Canadian investment firm Mavrik Corp. 

Axiom CEO Michael Suffredini said the flight is a ‘watershed moment in the march toward universal and routine access to space.’ 

‘These guys are all very involved and doing it for kind of for the betterment of their communities and countries, and so we couldn’t be happier with this makeup of the first crew because of their drive and their interest,’ Suffredini said.

Each of these first paying customers intends to perform science research in orbit, he said, along with educational outreach.

Lopez-Alegria, a former space station resident and spacewalking leader, called the group a ‘collection of pioneers.’

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