Three Israeli satellites were launched simultaneously for the first time on Monday. The launch was originally planned for Saturday.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
These autonomous satellites, developed as part of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology's Adelis-SAMSON project, were launched from Kazakhstan onboard a Glavkosmos Soyuz rocket, and will be used to calculate the location of planes, ships and people.
Each satellite, known as a CubeSat, weighs around eight kg. and comes equipped with sensors, control systems and navigation tools. But what is arguably most notable is the unique and innovative propulsion system, which will help keep the satellites moving, as well as three solar panels that will gather energy and, if necessary, control their flight without fuel, using only air drag in the atmosphere.
This will allow the satellites to travel 550 km. above ground and transmit signals to Technion's Asher Space Research Institute's (ASRI) mission control center.
This is not the Israeli university's first foray into space. In 1998, Technion launched the Gurwin-TechSat II. Eleven years later, that satellite is still in orbit.
In total, 37 SmallSats and CubeSats from 18 countries were launched on the Glavkosmos Soyuz rocket on Monday.
The Israeli satellites are equipped with computers created by Ramon.Space, a Yokne'am Illit-based developer of supercomputers designed for spaceships.
"For a computer to be fit for space travel, it needs to be very rugged, because outer space is a very bad environment for electronics," said Ran Ginosar, the company's co-founder and president. "It also needs to have very low power consumption, because there aren't many new power sources available in space. We design our computers to be able to last for 30 years without failing."
Ramon.Space is named after Israel's first astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died in 2003 when his space shuttle burnt up as it reentered Earth's atmosphere. The company's technology has been used by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in missions to the moon, Mars, the sun, and an asteroid, with a deep space mission to Jupiter planned soon, Ginosar noted.
The company was founded for Israel's Defense Ministry in 2004, but became a private company two years ago, Ginosar said.