Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office / IAI
The June 2010 launch of Israel's Ofek 9 military satellite from Palmachim air base.

Israel has launched another military satellite to keep an eye on Iran as the Islamic Republic ramps up its nuclear development program.

While international leaders continue to negotiate with Iran over slowing down its race to develop nuclear arms – an intent it denies despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – Israel is watching Tehran very closely. Iran has repeatedly vowed to wipe Israel “off the map.”

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On Wednesday the Defense Ministry sent its newest “eye in the sky” heavenward to join its predecessors in the mission to keep tabs on Iran and other enemies of the Jewish State.

The Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)’s Ofek 10 reconnaissance satellite is expected to orbit the Earth every 99 minutes – 800 times a year — from an altitude of 373 miles (600 kilometers) officials said. The process should take about 64,000 minutes annually. Like its predecessor, the new satellite was launched from the Palmachim Airbase near Rishon Lezion. And although the Ofek 9 carried a multi-spectral ‘Jupiter’ space camera produced by El-Op, its new brother has better equipment.

The camera on the Ofek 10 reportedly boasts resolution “much better than half a meter,” and is sharp enough to detect objects being carried by people, officials said. It is also capable of photographing under different lighting and changing weather conditions.

Two other Israeli satellites, the Ofek 5 and the Ofek 7, are still orbiting the Earth as well.

The Jewish State’s tenth satellite will also send images to other intelligence agencies.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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