Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Defense Ministry, Spokesperson and Information Division
Ofek 16's image of the Tadmor World Heritage Site in Syria

Israel’s Defense Ministry and the Israel Aerospace Industries on Tuesday revealed the first images from the Ofek 16 satellite camera, taken over Syria. The satellite was manufactured by the Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems.

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Defense Minister Bnei Gantz said: “Israel knows how to act against its enemies from near and far, and to protect its citizens everywhere, and from anywhere. The technological means we develop in the Ministry of Defense and in our industries are an effective and significant tool in maintaining Israel’s security, as an integral part of dealing with the challenges facing the State of Israel.”

The engineering teams of the space directorate at the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (Mapat) in the Defense Ministry, and IAI, continue to prepare the Ofek 16 satellite for operational use and on Tuesday publish, for the first time, photos from Syria taken by the satellite camera in recent days.

The images show with great clarity the Tadmor World Heritage Site in Syria, the antiquities of the ancient city and the famous Roman theater.

Ofek 16’s image of the famous Roman theater at the Tadmor World Heritage Site in Syria / Courtesy of the Defense Ministry, Spokesperson and Information Division

The Ofek 16 satellite, which was successfully launched into space last month, is an electro-optical observation satellite with advanced capabilities. The satellite is equipped with a camera of the highest quality, developed and manufactured by Elbit Systems, with the best performance-to-weight ratio characteristics available on the market.

At the same time, the space directorate at Mapat unveiled the national infrastructure for the production of space cameras, a joint project of the Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems, which was established with an investment of hundreds of millions of shekels. The national infrastructure includes laboratories for the production of lenses and stick mirrors, as well as a vacuum chamber that simulates the conditions in space and is used to test the satellite camera before it is launched for its mission in space.

In the near future, after the completion of the In Orbit Testing process by IAI, Mapat and Military Intelligence, the Defense Ministry Defense will transfer the satellite’s operations to Unit 9900, the Visual Geographic Intelligence Unit of the IDF Intelligence Division, and the satellite will be declared operational.

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