Israel and Italy have launched DIDO-3 tiny satellite on a Vega rocket from the Kourou base in French Guyana, Israeli media reported Thursday.
The overnight launch came as a joint effort by Israeli and Italian space agencies. The mini-satellite was developed by the Israeli-Swiss SpacePharma company.
Avi Blasberger, head of Israel's Space Agency, a department in the Ministry of Science and Technology, noted that SpacePharma is the only commercial company in the world except for NASA, to run a space-based research lab.
The satellite will work as a mini-lab conducting experiments in micro-gravity conditions while identical tests would be conducted by researchers in both Israel and Italy.
"Such experiments are usually performed by astronauts," Blasberger explained, pointing out that the mini-satellite will be able to conduct them autonomously with researchers controlling the tests from their laboratories on earth. Results are expected in the coming weeks.
The experiments in the fields of medicine, biology and chemistry, were devised by joint Israeli and Italian teams of scientists and are expected to provide new information on the prevention of disease.