IDF to monitor all satellites simultaneously

Under new program, soldiers introduce missions into system, which then chooses the closest satellite most suitable for the specific mission according to weather conditions.

September 14, 2010 03:39
1 minute read.
Ofek 9

Ofek 9 spy satellite 311. (photo credit: Israel Aerospace Industries)

In an effort to improve its control over Israel’s growing number of reconnaissance satellites in space, the IDF has installed a new mission planning system to enable automated control over its seven spy satellites.

The Multi-Satellite Planning System was developed by Elbit Systems and is used by a Military Intelligence unit responsible for controlling the nation’s satellites and determining their reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

In July, Israel launched the Ofek 9 electro-optical satellite, which joined another six reconnaissance satellites in space. By 2013, Israel will launch another satellite called the Opsat 3000, which will replace the Ofek satellite line.

Until now, soldiers in the unit needed to track the location of each satellite as they planned their missions to ensure that they would be available at the desired time.

Instead, with the new program, the soldiers introduce the missions to the system, which then chooses the closest satellite which will be selected as the one most suitable for the specific mission according to weather conditions.

Israel operates two types of satellites in space – electro-optic satellites, which use a high-resolution camera to take pictures of targets of interest, as well as SAR satellites, which use radar systems to create high-resolution images in all weather conditions, even through clouds and fog.

“The system knows how to calculate which satellite is coming from which direction and to also take into consideration weather conditions,” explained an official involved in the integration of the system into the IDF.

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