Israel launches new spy satellite – 'groundbreaking innovation' – into space
Israel launched a new spy satellite, the “Ofek-13,” into space early Wednesday morning, which will deliver higher-quality images to the Israel Defense Forces than has been possible, a crucial part of Israel’s military-intelligence gathering.
“The ‘Ofek-13’ satellite is a [synthetic-aperture radar] observation satellite with advanced capabilities,” the Israeli Defense Ministry said, adding a statement after the launch that the satellite “successfully entered orbit, has begun transmitting data, and completed an initial series of inspections in accordance with original launch plans.”
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant praised the launch as “yet another important example of the Israeli defense establishment’s groundbreaking innovation.”
“Israel has already proved its diverse space capabilities many times and is one of very few countries to possess such capabilities, capabilities that we continue to develop and strengthen,” Gallant said.
The satellite was launched into space from the Palmachim Airbase, an Israeli military facility and spaceport, with area residents reporting to have heard the blast from the launch.
In the coming weeks, the Ofek-13 will be subject to technical tests to ensure it is ready for full operations.
“Initial indications from the satellite are very good. Within the coming weeks, we will complete technical tests and receive the first pictures before delivering the satellite for operational use by the IDF,” said Avi Berger, the head of the Defense Ministry’s Space and Satellite Administration.
Israel launched its first spy satellite, the “Ofek-1,” into space in 1988.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.