Israel on Monday successfully launched the Ofek-7 spy satellite into orbit atop a “Shavit” ballistic missile. Defense officials later confirmed that the satellite had successfully entered orbit, and that all its systems were functioning properly, reported Israel Radio.
Ofek-7 has a life span of four years, and replaces the aging Ofek-5, which has allowed Israel to keep a close eye on its enemies' movements for the past five years.
Israel was forced to extend the life span of Ofek-5 when its successor, Ofek-6, crashed into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after launch in 2004.
Though Monday's launch was scheduled years in advance, it comes at a time of heightened tension in the region, with senior defense experts warning that war with Iran and Syria could be just around the corner.