NASA and the Israel Space Agency signed a joint statement recognizing the Israel Network for Lunar Science and Exploration, or INLSE, as an affiliate partner with the NASA Lunar Science Institute, the U.S. space agency announced Jan. 27.

Under the agreement, the INLSE will bring technical and engineering expertise to advance lunar science goals at the NASA-led institute, which is based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

NASA said in a press release that the initial focus of the new partnership will be on laser communications, robotics, remote sensing and other technologies for future lunar missions.

Ames Director Pete Worden said INLSE’s capabilities would “greatly extend our institute’s reach.”

Israel Space Agency Director-General Zvi Kaplan said in a statement that he hopes his agency will become “an energetic and vital member” of the NASA Lunar Science Institute.