'Perfect' Ofek 7 already almost fully operational

Ofek 7, the new IDF satellite launched on Sunday night, began transmitting images back to Israel on Thursday. Senior defense officials said the satellite would break a world record and be declared operational by the end of the week. Israel's most advanced satellite, Ofek 7 orbits the Earth every 90 minutes from altitudes of up to 600 kilometers. It has a projected four-year life span and joins the Ofek 5, launched in 2002, which is expected to stop working by the end of the year. Security officials said all of Ofek 7's systems were functioning as planned and that Israel was pleased with the results thus far. The officials would not discuss the quality of the pictures being transmitted because of the secret nature of the contents. Lt.-Col. Y., commander of the satellite command and control center, said Ofek 7's high-resolution images increased Israel's operational capabilities. He said that the satellite's systems were working perfectly and that it would be possible to declare it operational by the end of the week. A satellite is usually declared operational after a month of tests. AP contributed to this report.