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An Israeli photography satellite will be launched from Siberia * A civilian satellite as a backup for a military photography satellite

The first Israeli photography satellite from the "Eros" family for civilian purposes will be launched at the end of the month from the Russian "Start" 1 launcher from a missile base in Siberia

Amnon Barzilai

The first Israeli photography satellite from the "Eros" family for civilian purposes,
It will be launched at the end of the month from the Russian launcher "Start" 1 from a missile base in Siberia.
Two Russian transport planes will arrive in Israel on Friday and transfer the
The satellite - which is a derivative of the Ofek 3 intelligence satellite and the equipment
The subsidiary, to the airport in the city of Sobodny in central Siberia.

The transfer of the satellite to Siberia is considered a complex operation because of the numerous accompanying equipment
and the long distance from the airport to the launch site. Flight duration, incl
Refueling, is about 12 hours. Due to the disrupted traffic routes, the trip will take longer
The convoy to the launch site took over 12 more hours. Upon completion of transfer
the equipment, Israeli teams will work on integrating the satellite systems with the launcher
the russian It is estimated that the work will last about two weeks. According to Moshe Barlev,
The president of the "Imagesat International" company that builds the satellites, if not
The satellite will be launched at the end of the month.

The decision to launch the Israeli photography satellite from a site outside the borders
Israel, stems from the country's geographical limitations. The satellite should
enter an elliptical orbit around the Earth's axis. The meaning is that there is
Launch the satellite towards the northeast. To avoid having to launch the
The satellite over Syria and Lebanon requires a launch site outside the borders of Israel.
The decision to launch the satellite using a Russian launcher was made for two reasons.
The price offer was fifty percent cheaper compared to other offers,
And the second reason - trust in the Russian ability and experience in launching satellites

The Russian satellite launcher is a derivative of a surface-to-surface missile. SS-25
The A1 satellite is the first in a constellation of eight satellites, which is being built
"Imagesat International" company, which will be launched into space during 3-4
the following years. All satellites will move in a low orbit at an altitude of 480 km
above the earth. The second satellite in the series will be launched in the second half of
In 2001, the company raised 90 million dollars to build the two satellites
The former, some from foreign investors.
The satellites will transmit photographs from space of the Earth for customers
Those interested in photographs. The first customer, and at this point the company's main customer,
will be the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The satellite will be a backup for the satellite
The "Ofek" 3 intelligence that has been floating in space since the mid-90s
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 7/11/2000{

A civilian satellite as a military backup

Successful launch of a civilian Israeli satellite using a Russian launcher
Missiles in the Siberian steppes is an unusual event. – A-1 for the photography satellite
Israel's first civilian launched last week - is based on
technologies of the Israeli spy satellite Ofek 3, and is the first of
Six-eight satellites from the Eros family (acronym for Research
Orbital Sources Earth) that will float in space within four years.
By Amnon Barzilai

Successful launch of a civilian Israeli satellite using a Russian launcher
Missiles in the Siberian steppes is an unusual event. – A-1 for the photography satellite
Israel's first civilian launched last week - is based on
technologies of the Israeli spy satellite Ofek 3, and is the first of
Six-eight satellites from the Eros family (acronym for Research
Orbital Sources Earth) that will float in space within four years. you succeeded
The launch opens the way for cooperation between Israel and Russia in the field of launching
civilian satellites into space, and it also has practical implications for acceleration
The development of the civilian communication satellites of the Amos series and the promotion of the project
the military of the Israeli spy satellites.

In 2001, two additional photography satellites will be launched - the civilian, B-2
will be the second in the Eros series, and the second satellite, belonging to the military project of
The Israeli spy satellites will be Ofek. 4. The fundamental difference between
The two will be in the launch location and the launch medium. The civil satellite
It will be launched, like the A-1, from and through the Svobodny missile site in Siberia
Launcher - Start 1. Ofek 4 will be launched from Israel using the Shavit launcher, according to
Foreign publications based on technologies of the Israeli surface-to-surface missile

Mbat plant is responsible for carrying out the two space projects, civil and military
of the Aerospace Industry, the manufacturer of the satellite. The great success of the factory,
Beyond the production of the satellite, is expressed in the creation of integration of all systems
installed in the satellite, including the telescopic camera, the transmitter, the auxiliary engines,
All of them are made by the defense industries: Eloup, Rafael and the Elishara Group.
The construction of the satellite and the integration of the systems are based on unique knowledge
which is almost unparalleled in the world. He allows Israel to be the second country
in the world, after the USA, which places an array of photographic satellites in space for purposes

ImageSat International, the Israeli company that financed the project
The Civilian, believes that it can capture 30% of the market for images from space. Moses
Kerat, CEO of IAA and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ImageSat, assesses
that the potential from selling pictures from space is about two billion dollars a year.
One Eros series satellite can return to the same point above the surface of a sphere
the land once every three days; Six to eight satellites can return to
the same point every few hours and shoot targets from different angles. no wonder
Therefore, the company expects that some of its customers will be defense ministries in the world,
In addition to countries that need photographs that provide information on weather conditions
Air, road conditions, etc. The Israeli Ministry of Defense is the client
The first, most important and probably also the largest of the Eros civil enterprise.

But - according to the head of the Military Weapons Development Administration (MDA) in the ministry
The security, General Yitzhak Ben Israel - the civil enterprise is also a backup
for the military satellite project promoted by Israel. This reference to the project
The civilian was formed in the security system at the beginning of 1998, shortly after
The launch failure of Ofek 4. Until then, Ofek 3 operated successfully
which was launched in April 1995, but it was estimated that four years from the date of its launch
will stop working. The intelligence services, who benefited from the rich information he provided
For the spy satellite, they feared the possibility that such an accurate and readily available source would be lost.

The failure requires a reassessment of the Israeli space programs,
And in the discussions held under the chairmanship of Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, it was decided to cancel the
Most of the restrictions imposed on the civil enterprise, except for one - an office
The security got exclusivity on all the pictures taken by Eros satellites above
the Middle East.

The establishment of the civil enterprise and its running through private investors was therefore
The timeout necessary for the security system to restore the Ofek project. clarify,
Without time pressure, also the causes of the launch failure (the fault was with the launcher
the Shavit satellites) and also the operational requirements and expectations that the community has
The intelligence from spy satellites.

The two principle decisions that were made were: not to trust foreign launchers
and launch Ofek satellites from Israel. Another operative decision made
- To develop a more advanced generation of photography satellites, such as those that will be built
As part of the civil project. Both satellites, the civilian and the military, will be carried
More sophisticated telescopic cameras capable of photographing at a separation level
(resolution) of up to 82 cm. But there is a fundamental difference. According to publications
Strangers, Ofek's next-generation cameras, unlike Eros, will carry sensors
Advances - the world is trying to develop such cameras, capable of taking pictures in everything
Weather, day and night. Their drawback is the damage to the level of separation.
But what they have is enough to make it possible to notice suspicious movements of military forces
who try to advance under the cover of darkness.
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 10/12/2000{

The launch of the first satellite in the Eros program was delayed by three months
Satellites / The launch of the satellite program is expected at the beginning of the year
The Israeli on Wall on Wall Street
Tilapia Brazililvainim / in the beginning
A program is expected to be issued this year
The Israeli satellites on Wall Street

What are the weeks on the Board of Directors of the Aerospace Industry (TAA) on
"Eros" - the pretentious space program to launch eight photography satellites
For civilian purposes - was short, but worrying. The questions presented in the council
The managers were: Why was there a change in the project schedule, so
that the launch planned for this month was postponed, and whether the American investment company
Merrill Lynch will comply with the plan to raise the initial capital needed for the project
through an IPO on Wall Street.

The first three satellites are derivatives of the "Ofek" spy satellite
,”3 which still orbits the earth. The other satellites will be developed
more, and have a synthetic radar that will allow you to take pictures in any weather conditions, during the day
and at night

According to the updated plan, the launch of the first satellite will be later
about three months. In about a year and a half, three photography satellites will move from
The eight around the earth.

No answer was given to the troubling questions asked by the board of directors of the IAA
Unambiguous. In the discussion that took place with the participation of the Chairman of the Board of Directors Uri
Or and CEO Moshe Kerat, the following prediction was heard: "There is a risk, of course
The issue will be delayed, expenses will increase, difficulties will arise in raising funds
financing and difficulties will arise in carrying out the project in the planned scope".

About 2004 million are needed to launch the eight photography satellites by 200
dollar. The board of directors said that success in raising money on Wall Street is
A precondition set by French businessmen for their willingness to invest 20
million dollars in the project. IAA Masada invested until today, through the plant
Mbat, which produces the first satellite in the "Eros" series, approximately 8 million

CEO Kerat's response was optimistic: "Merrill Lynch is handling the phase
It is by raising 50 million dollars from foreign investors on Wall Street. company
The investments believe that it will be possible to raise the money on time. And then too
The money of the French investors will be released, which will allow the satellite to be sent
the first one".

The program for the conquest of space using the photography satellites of the Israel Defense Forces is underway
From the offices of the WIS company in Tel Aviv. WIS is a holding company they established
The three companies managing the project: TAA, CST owned by
American businessman Steven Wilson and Al-Op, the camera manufacturer
The electro-optic of the satellite. The first two own 44% of the company
Each, the last - 12% Al-Op merged with Elbit Systems from Haifa.
So much to TAA's concern, its great rival entered the field
The satellites in Israel.

The chairman of the WIS board of directors is the former director general of finance, David Brodt.
Wilson is CEO and the president of the company is Dr. Moshe Barlev, who was one
From the senior officials of the Mbat plant, and from the developers of the "Ofek" satellite. In recent days
Barlev conveyed a reassuring message to the IAA management: after the Christmas break you will make up
Merrill Lynch raised the capital for the project.

For more than five years Barlev has been waiting for the launch of the Israeli photography satellite
The first for civilian purposes. The approval for this was given after the American government
and the Israeli Ministry of Defense, each for their own reasons, removed the
their opposition.
Due to the insistence of the Israeli security establishment, Lockheed Martin went ahead
The IAA in the secret struggle between them for the hegemony of photographs from space.
About two months ago, Lockheed Martin's "Ikonos" transmitting satellite was launched
Photographs of the Earth in high quality, at a separation level of 82 cm.
"Ikonos" will be the main competitor satellite to the "Eros" program in space.
In Israel, they believe that "Eros" has better chances of capturing a share
Bigger than the market, because it will offer photos at a more attractive price (price
of a picture is estimated in thousands of dollars). In addition, eight satellites are capable
Photograph every point on Earth more often than a single satellite
- and therefore able to detect movement.

WIS is careful not to be identified with the Ministry of Defense. "What scares us the most
Let them think we are a straw company used as a cover story for national programs
Israeliness," says a senior company official. to emphasize her beauty and character
The civil-international, WIS will establish its central image archive
in Cyprus. For the same reason the company is registered in the Netherlands Antilles
in Central America.
However, the first and most important customer of WIS is the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Although the defense establishment is working on a separate space program, it is showing interest
In the photographs produced by the civilian satellite. Also defense ministries of other countries
Interested in the "Eros" program. The company has accumulated hundreds of orders
Millions of dollars.

According to the business forecasts, the global sales turnover of satellite images
will be about 6 billion dollars a year in the middle of the next decade. The assumption is common sense
A user will sign a ten-year agreement and pay $100 million. Because
The demand will continue to grow and the minority of companies that are able to provide such services,
WIS expects to cover development and production expenses within three years.

The satellites will be launched using Russian rockets

One of the reasons for the relatively cheap price that will be required for a photo taken by me
The satellites of the "Eros" project, of the Aerospace Industry (TAA), CST
Val-op is the decision to launch the satellites on a Russian launcher.

Project Eros was faced with several launch options. The first, launch the
The satellites via "Shavit", a satellite launcher manufactured by the MLM factory
The TAA, which launched "Ofek" 3 into space.

But due to Israel's location, this option was dropped from the chapter. In case of
"Ofek,"3 Israel had no interest in pictures from all parts of the world. so,
The satellite moves in a latitudinal orbit around the earth, in a narrow space between
Nest of the equator to the 37th degree north of the equator. The launch direction was
from east to west.

Civilian photography satellites must orbit the Earth
length, above the poles. This enables the movement of the satellite, along with the rotation of the sphere
The earth is on its axis, photograph every point on its surface. Therefore the launch has to be done
South to North, and Israel fears that the satellite will fall in an enemy country.

When the idea of ​​launching using a "comet" fell through, WIS looked for the cheap solution
Most - Russian missile manufacturers. At first there was talk of launching "Eros" on
On top of the giant rocket "Mulania". In the last year it was decided to prefer "Start
1 ballistic missile converted into a satellite launcher. Shipping cost via
A Russian launcher is a third of the cost of a launch using a Western launcher.
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 30/12/1999{

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