The Space Administration in the Israel Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) successfully launched the ‘Ofek 16’ reconnaissance satellite into space at 4 AM this morning. The launch was performed from central Israel using a ‘Shavit’ launcher.
‘Ofek 16’ is an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities. During the initial period of operation, the satellite will undergo a series of tests to determine its propriety and performance level.
The satellite began to orbit around earth and to transmit data, in accordance with original launch plans. MOD and IAI engineers have started a series of pre-planned tests to determine the propriety and performance level of the satellite before it begins its full operational activities.
The Space Administration led the development and production of the satellite and the launcher, with IAI acting as the prime contractor. The satellite’s payload was developed by Elbit Systems. The launch engines were developed by Rafael Advanced Systems and Tomer, a government-owned defense company.
Once the satellite is deemed fully operational, the Ministry of Defense will turn over responsibility for its operational activity to the IDF’s ‘9900’ Intelligence Unit.
Following the launch, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said:
“The successful launch of the ‘Ofek 16’ satellite is yet another extraordinary achievement for the defense establishment, for the defense industries as a whole, and for Israel Aerospace Industries in particular. Technological superiority and intelligence capabilities are essential to the security of the State of Israel. The fact that Israel is one of the 13 countries in the world with satellite launching capabilities is not a given and was made possible by the people who have been investing in these systems and advancing breakthrough capabilities over the years. We will continue to strengthen and maintain Israel’s capabilities on every front, in every place.”
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