Venus, the first Israeli-built satellite meant for environmental research and monitoring, is set to be launched on today from the Vega launcher in French Guiana. The satellite, the flagship project of the Israeli space agency in the Science and Technology Ministry and the French Space Agency (CNES), is currently being prepared for launch at the Arianespace station and is scheduled for launch from the European Space Center outside of Kourou at 4:58 a.m. Israel time.
“Israel is known throughout the world for its daring and innovation,” said Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, “which has resulted in the technological development of Venus, and we are extremely proud to see the incredible results of the hard work carried out by Israel’s leading engineers and researchers, led by the Israeli Space Agency and the French Space Agency.”
The importance of satellite navigation has increased in recent years, especially due to global environmental problems, such as population density, depletion of agricultural land and food areas, pollution and natural disasters.
Built in recent years by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Venus is the first Israeli civilian satellite built by the Space Agency at the Science Ministry, and is considered the smallest of its kind in the world. The satellite is expected to monitor fields and natural areas from space for environmental research purposes, as well as the state of land, vegetation, afforestation, agriculture and quality of water bodies.
Venus is equipped with a special camera that can absorb details on Earth at 12 wavelengths, including details that are not visible to the human eye. The satellite is expected to photograph fixed areas in Israel and around the world and will provide researchers with dozens of pictures every day, each of which will cover about 760 sq.km.
Venus will orbit the Earth 29 times within 48 hours and provide images every two days, returning to the exact same angle of view, allowing for frequent changes in vegetation, soil, beaches, inland water bodies, and the atmosphere. The combination of these features is unique to Venus, and gives it an advantage over other space satellites currently operating.
At the time of launching, the satellite will weigh 265 kg., making it the lightest satellite to ever operate in space. At the same time, an Italian satellite, which was also constructed in Israel, will be launched.
It will take exactly 37 minutes and 18 seconds from the moment the satellite is launched until it enters its orbit in space.
The first signal from the satellite, indicating that it is operational, is expected to be received at the ground station in Israel about five and a half hours after being launched. The satellite will enter a synchronized 720-km. solar orbit within two days of the launch, and the first simulations to test the satellite’s performance, which will be photographed by Venus in Israel, will be received within a week after the launch, and simulations will be distributed to users three months after the launch. Venus is planned to operate in space for 4.5 years, after which it will be diverted to a lower orbit.
The Venus satellite will photograph about 110 different research areas around the world every two days. As it passes over Israel, Venus will photograph three north-south strips: in the Galilee, the coastal plain and the Negev. These will include most of the national parks and nature reserves, forests and ecological stations. The images will be available to researchers at universities, governmental authorities and research institutes.
Although Venus is a joint Israeli/ French project, all of the satellite’s hardware components were developed in Israel’s space industries.
In addition to IAI, which built the satellite and integrated the components, Elbit developed the unique camera, and Rafael developed the propulsion system, resulting in the entire satellite being the product of blue and white construction and development. In other words, Venus is entirely the product of Israeli development.
Building transparency in the workplace
Israeli start-up dapulse has designed a web and mobile app to help teams collaborate and build transparency in the workplace. The SaaS platform was created to be an intuitive and efficient way to manage teams and improve workplace operations. Launched in 2014, dapulse provides a fundamentally different way for teams to work together. The product can be customized to any team’s work process and has widespread appeal across many business verticals, currently operating in over 200 different verticals, including R&D, marketing, sales, product and customer-management.
Over the last two years year, dapulse, which is headquartered in Tel Aviv, has grown from 20 employees to nearly 70, and expects to reach 100 by the end of the year. Active customers include Adidas, AT&T, Discovery Channel, Samsung, Uber, WeWork, and Wix, among over 13,000 others.
The dapulse platform is built on the essence of people management, rather than product management. It presents project overviews in a single, visual glance and empowers its users to collaborate more effectively and understand their contributions to their company better. The product structure is simple and flexible enough to meet the needs of just two people working together, as well as vastly complex workplace operations of thousands, spanning different departments and time zones.
The company recently closed a $25 million Series B round, bringing total funding to $34.1m. Along with the many new hires being added to the team, dapulse will use the funding to scale its rapid growth, expand its product offering, build new product integrations, and ultimately, impact thousands of new businesses.
“We designed dapulse to be an integral part of the everyday lives of our users. As the first thing they check upon arriving in the office and the last before they leave, dapulse functions as a seamlessly integrated part of their work day,” says Eran Zinman, cofounder and CTO of dapulse. “Fifty percent of our employees work in R&D and 100% of our team is focused on providing an outstanding product experience. From our marketing efforts to our customer success team, we always want our users to know we care.”
The company recently conducted a survey to better understand what makes employees more productive in the workplace. Respondents were polled on the different elements that contribute to their happiness, productivity and the reduction of office politics. Results ultimately showed that employees are happier and more engaged in their jobs in a more transparent work environment.
In an overwhelming consensus, employees surveyed agreed that transparency in the workplace increases employee engagement.
Respondents also agreed that workplace politics and disputes, which are known to be a common detriment to a worker’s level of happiness, are heavily reduced when a collaboration tool is used.
According to the survey, which polled more than 6,000 employees from different industries, ages, genders and nationalities, platforms like dapulse have decreased office politics by an average of 69% by “creating an open view for everyone to see,” which provides, “a clear trajectory for each employee to follow and understand how others fit in,” and by “empowering everyone to be equally in the know and capable of handling any situation.”
Interestingly, 91% of the employees surveyed noted that transparency between management and staff is what most increases overall happiness in the workplace. Respondents shared that when management is open and approachable, it is more motivating for employees.
A respondent added, “in an environment of transparency, I feel that I am part of something bigger than me, which leads me to feel more excited, engaged, and inclined to offer my own thoughts and suggestions.”
According to Roy Mann, CEO and cofounder of dapulse, the company is constantly engaging with users to incorporate their feedback and to understand how dapulse can better contribute to happiness at work.
Many teams start using dapulse as a task management tool but quickly recognize its value is much deeper. This is where having a true understanding of what makes an employee feel fulfilled at work is essential.
Mann has witnessed so many project management tools that make employees feel overwhelmed and stagnant instead of encouraged and more productive. He explains that when employees feel like they have an endless list of tasks to complete, without the context of how they fit into the “big picture,” or without receiving any recognition for their work, they struggle.
Therefore, the premise of dapulse is to empower its users. Within our platform, people are recognized for their work, the tool can be customized to suit any team’s needs, and it evokes a feeling of the software working for you, rather than you working for it. In displaying the same view of tasks for team members and managers alike, transparency is inherently created.
Each team member becomes part of something larger than his or her personal responsibilities and as a result, collective efficacy is strengthened.
If you run a young startup, have developed an interesting app or have a question, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.Translated by Hannah Hochner.