The Israeli satellite Ofek 11 (Ofek means horison in Hebrew) on Thursday started to transmit images from space after many days in which no one in the local aerospace industry was sure about its fate, according to Amnon Harari, head of the space administration in the Defense Ministry.
“Starting September 13, we’ve been engaged in taking down one subsystem after another until we got control of the satellite,” Harari told Walla, adding that “now it’s been giving operation-grade production, excellent pictures.”
Ofek-11, part of the Ofek family of reconnaissance satellites designed and built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for the Israeli Ministry of Defense, was launched, using the Shavit launcher, on 13 September from the Palmachim Airbase south of Tel Aviv, two years after the launch of Ofek-10. The Ofek 11 features a new imaging system called “Jupiter High-Resolution Imaging” with resolution increased to 0.5 meter, and using a new satellite platform, OPSAT-3000.
The launch ten days ago looked like a success, except that, about 90 minutes later, the project engineers realized that not all systems were functioning or responsive as the satellite had entered its orbit.
“The birth of this satellite was difficult, like the birth of a baby” Harari admitted. “Now we can say that the launch was a success. We overcame the problem.”