Improving intelligence to face Iran's pursuit of nuclear power.In an effort to beef up intelligence gathering in the face of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power, Israel launched a new spy satellite into space on Tuesday.
Called Ofek 9, the satellite was launched from Palmachim Air Force Base along the Mediterranean coast. It will be placed in low orbit by the IAI-made Shavit launcher that was used for the Ofek 7 satellite in 2007.
“This will significantly boost our intelligence-gathering capabilities,” a defense official said.
The Ofek 9 weighs about 300 kg. and can complete an orbit every 90 minutes.
While the new satellite will not represent a significant technological breakthrough – it will carry the same camera as the Ofek 7 – it will provide the IDF with greater flexibility in utilizing its space assets.
The last satellite, the TecSar, was launched by Israel from India in 2008. Also developed by IAI, the TecSar can create high-resolution images using advanced radar technology called Synthetic Aperture Radar, enabling it to produce images in all weather conditions and even at night.
Israel also operates the Ofek 5 and receives services from the EROS B.
After the Ofek 9, the next spy satellite launched into space will be called the Opsat 3000, scheduled to be sent into space later this decade and to be capable of unprecedented optical remote sensing at extremely high resolution.