Israel set to launch new spy satellite

January 29, 2010 04:32

Military seeks to beef up intelligence gathering in the face of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power.

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Israel set to launch new spy satellite

satellite missile 224.88. (photo credit:AP)

In an effort to beef up intelligence gathering in the face of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power, will send a new spy satellite into space in the coming months, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Called Ofek 8, the satellite will be launched from and is currently in its final production stages at Israel Aerospace Industries. It will be placed in low orbit by the IAI-made Shavit launcher that was used for the Ofek 7 satellite in 2007.

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“This will significantly boost our intelligence-gathering capabilities,” a defense official said.

The Ofek 8 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 8, 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.

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