Israel launches new reconnaissance satellite

Rocket, its propellants, the satellite and its optical system were developed by Israeli companies. This was the 11 launch of a Shavit 2 rocket

The Israeli government successfully launched a Shavit 2 rocket containing the Ofek 16 satellite on board last Monday (6th). The rocket took off from the base area of ​​Palmachim, in the central region of the country.


“The successful launch of the ‘Ofek 16’ satellite is another extraordinary achievement for our defense forces, for the defense industries as a whole and for Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in particular,” said Benny Gantz, Minister of Defense Israel in a statement.

This was the 11th launch of a Shavit 2 rocket, developed in Israel since 1982, and the ninth successful. According to IMoD, the satellite has successfully reached its orbit and is already sending telemetry data.

IAI and IMoD will carry out a series of tests to verify the functioning of all systems before passing control of the satellite to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which will be responsible for its operation.

The satellite was developed jointly between the IAI, the Ministry of Defense of Israel (IMoD) and the Space Administration in the Defense Research and Development Directorate. The camera system was developed by Elbit Systems, and the rocket engines by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, both Israeli.

Keeping an eye on the moon

In April 2019 Israel drew attention with an attempt by SpaceIL, a nonprofit organization, to land the Beresheet spacecraft on the moon. This would be the first private and non-governmental mission to establish presence on the lunar surface.

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Unfortunately, problems with an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and a late propulsion of the propellant to reduce the speed of descent caused the spacecraft to collide with the surface of the Moon, resulting in its total loss.

A week after the accident, SpaceIL announced that it is developing Beresheet 2 for a new attempt. The probe’s design was licensed by Firefly Aerospace, which plans to build a version called Genesis.

Source: Space.com

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