The Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) has successfully launched the tenth Ofek reconnaissance satellite from Palmachim Air Force Base near Rishon Lezion, Israel.
Jointly launched by IMOD's research and development department (MAFAT) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) using a shavit satellite launcher, the Ofek 10 entered orbit and underwent a series of tests to confirm its serviceability and accurate performance.
It then started transmission of data and visual material to Earth.
IAI mabat division manager Ofer Doron was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying that the satellite is very small and can provide very precise, high-quality images under all conditions.
"We are beginning a procedure that will last a number of months, in which we will carry out a number of checks, at the end of which it will go into operational service," Doron said.
Israeli Ministry of Defense space administration head Amnon Harari said the satellite is highly flexible, which enables it to gather intelligence on many targets 'in interesting places'.
Meanwhile, Israel Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the successful launch of Ofek 10 is another testimony to Israel's impressive ability to develop and lead on the technological front.
"The Ofek 10 satellite is meant to improve the state of Israel's intelligence capabilities, and allow the defence establishment to better deal with threats that are near and far, at any time of the day and in all types of weather," Ya'alon said.
Developed and manufactured by IMOD, through MAFAAT, the Ofek 10 is an observation remote-sensing satellite that employs synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) technology with advanced high-resolution imagery.
Several Israeli companies supported its production, including Rafael, Spectralink from Elbit Systems, Rokar, and Israel Military Industries. Branches of the Israel Defense Forces were also involved, including the intelligence branch and the air force.
Image: The Ofek 10 observation satellite launches from Palmachim Air Force Base, Israel. Photo: courtesy of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.