Israel's Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries launched the advanced, radar based, observation satellite "Ofek 10" into space Wednesday evening from the Palmahim air force base.
The satellite's cameras are capable of maintaining all their capabilities during any type of weather and also during the night, and thus serve Israel's security systems.
It is confirmed that after the first few minutes of flight "Ofek 10" was in good working condition. If and when the satellite begins its orbit around the planet, it will undergo a series of detailed tests to check its functionality and performance level.
The newest of Israel's satellites will complete a full orbit around the globe every 90 minutes and when "Ofek 10" reaches the airspace above Israel it will send back all the imagery it captured.
The addition of "Ofek 10" to Israel's satellite arsenal, will compliment the "Ofek 9", which is already in orbit. In this way, one of the advanced satellites will pass over Israel every 45 minutes, thus limiting the time gaps during which security officials can't access visual information from its targets, in particular Iran.
If, for example, Iran attempts to hide military movements like mounting missiles on their launchers, Israeli satellites will now be able to see and confirm the move twice as fast.
Photo: Lian Golbary
Ynet readers reported seeing the satellite launch with a long light-tail and a loud boom that lasted some roughly 30 seconds.
"Ofek 10" was launched on a military rocket that was made of two main rocket motors, each of which weighs 13 tons, alongside dozens of pyrotechnic systems. Developers of the engines included scientists, technology engineers and production personnel from industry's Givon factory.
"Ofek 10" is considered to be relatively small in comparison to other observation satellites, and so it will circle the globe at a slightly lower height, just outside the Earth's atmosphere.
The State of Israel was the seventh country in the world to buy the full ability to launch and operate satellites in space and as of today Israel is one of only 12 countries with this ability alongside: The United States, Russia, China, France, Italy, Britain, India, South Korea, Japan, Ukraine, and Iran.
Ron Ben-Yishai contributed to this report.