The launch was tonight from the Palmachim air force base. Ofek 13 is a radar-based observation satellite and will be able to provide photographs in any weather day and night * According to the original launch plan, the satellite entered its orbit around the Earth, began transmitting data and underwent a series of initial tests.
The Space Directorate at the Ministry of Defense, the IDF and the Aerospace Industry successfully launched the 'Ofek 02' radar observation satellite into space tonight (Wednesday) at 10:13. The launch was carried out using a three-stage satellite launcher of the "Shavit" type, from an experimental field in the center of the country.
According to the original launch plan, the satellite entered its orbit around the Earth, began transmitting data and underwent a series of initial tests.
The engineers of the Space Directorate at the Ministry of Defense, together with the engineers of the 'Space' plant at the Aerospace Industry, are continuing the series of tests that were planned in advance, until the satellite enters full operation in the near future.
The 'Ofek 13' satellite was developed based on the experience gained by the defense establishment and the aerospace industry in the development of the series of advanced observation satellites "Ofek", which were launched into space starting in 1988.
The development and production of the satellite and the launcher is led by the Ministry of Defense, through the Space Directorate at the Israel Defense Forces. Various parties from the IDF are involved in the development, including Unit 9900 in the Intelligence Division and the Air Force. IAI is the main contractor of the project, for the production of the satellite, the launch vehicle and the monitoring system at the ground station. The Space and Missile Systems Division, led by the 'Space' plant, is carrying out the project in collaboration with the Alta Division and the MLM plant. The companies 'Tomer' and 'Raphael' produced the launch rocket engines.
Upon the satellite's entry into operation, the Ministry of Defense will transfer the operation of the satellite to the responsibility of Unit 9900 - the visual geographic intelligence unit of the Intelligence Division of the IDF.
The Minister of Defense, Yoav Galant, who was present in the control room at the launch of the satellite: "Whoever needed further proof of the groundbreaking technological innovation that characterizes the Israeli security system received it today in a clear way, in the successful launch of the satellite, which is an important achievement like no other.
Israel has already proven many times its diverse capabilities in the field of space and it is among a limited list of countries that possess these capabilities, which we will continue to develop and deepen. The achievement we can be proud of today rests, first and foremost, on the creativity, talent and commitment to the mission of the engineers and all the excellent professionals who are partners in the mission.
We will continue to prove that the sky is not the limit for the Israeli security system, which is improving its operational capabilities in every dimension and in the face of a variety of challenges."
The head of MFAAT at the Ministry of Defense, Brigadier General (ret.) Dr. Danny Gold: "We have placed a radar-based satellite in space, which is equipped with superior capabilities at the top of global technology. The launch of the Ofek 13 satellite once again proves the supremacy of the State of Israel in space. It also produces the operational and technological leap to preserve and improve the space supremacy of the State of Israel in the next two decades."
Commander of 9900, Brigadier General Erez Askal: "The success of the launch has many meanings for the security system in general and unit 9900 in particular, and for its positioning as a regional and international space power. Thanks to the partners in the space community, and from here the work has only begun. The soldiers and commanders of the unit will continue to work day and night to ensure its successful operation and to complete the operational intelligence picture."
CEO of IAI, Boaz Levy: "The 'Ofek 13' satellite that was launched tonight is further proof of IAI's strength as Israel's space house and its significant contribution to the defense system. From now on, the State of Israel will be given groundbreaking intelligence capabilities. Thanks to the Ofek 13 satellite, the most advanced of its kind in the world, with unique radar observation capabilities, the State of Israel will receive intelligence in all weathers and visibility, to further improve the strategic intelligence capability. The satellite combines groundbreaking blue and white technologies and joins the team of observation satellites produced by the aerospace industry in space, which operate in the service of the defense system to strengthen intelligence superiority. The launch summarizes a long and complex activity of the development and construction of the satellite, which was led by the best minds in the aerospace industry, together with Mpaat in the Ministry of Defense and other defense industries."
Avi Berger, the head of the space department at the Ministry of Defense, Avi Berger: "Ofek 13 is a radar-based observation satellite with the most advanced capabilities of its kind in the world, all of which are the result of Israeli development. The launch was successful, according to the plan. The first indications from the satellite are also excellent. In the coming weeks we will complete the technical tests and receive the first images, in preparation for the transfer of the satellite for operational use in the IDF. 'Ofek 13' will join the series of Ofek satellites, winner of the Israel Defense Prize, which the Ministry of Defense and the IDF have been operating in space for many years. The radar satellite will allow, among other things, day and night photography capabilities and will significantly improve the intelligence of the State of Israel from space, for years to come.
More on the subject on the science website