Israel’s Defense Ministry and the country’s Aerospace Industries on Monday morning launched the Ofek 16 reconnaissance satellite. The launch was carried out at 4:00 AM by the Israeli made Shavit rocket launcher from a pad in the center of the country and was a success. According to the Defense Ministry’s announcement, the satellite has already entered its orbit and began transmitting data.
Shlomi Sudri, Director of Missile Defense Systems at Aerospace Industries, stated: “The satellite will enhance the strategic capabilities of Israel and the Military Intelligence. Our satellites allow us to look anywhere in the Middle East and beyond. Ofek 16 is an advanced electro-optic reconnaissance satellite. It incorporates breakthrough Israeli technologies that enhance our strategic intelligence capability as a state.”
The engineers at MOD’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure and at Aerospace Industries (Maf’at) have begun a comprehensive series of tests to verify the new satellite’s integrity and performance until it becomes fully operational.
Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement that the spy satellite is “yet another tremendous achievement for the defense establishment – the defense industries in general and the aerospace industry in particular.”
Gantz noted that the fact that Israel is one of 13 world countries capable of launching their own satellites into space should not be taken for granted. The other 12 are the US, Italy, France, Japan, India, the UK, Ukraine, China, Russia, Iran, and North and South Korea.
“We will continue to strengthen and preserve Israel’s power on every front and every location,” Gantz said.
The Defense Ministry was at the helm of the satellite’s development, through the “Etgar” space directory at Maf’at. Aerospace Industries was the main contractor for the project, through its Space plant which built the satellite, and Malam which developed the launch pad.
The satellite’s camera was developed by Elbit Systems.
Tomer, a government owned company for rocket propulsion systems and Raphael manufactured the rocket launch engines.