Israel launches spy satellite into space

The Ofek 11, Israel seventh espionage satellite, is meant to assist Israel in intelligence-gathering.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense, in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI),  launched a new spy satellite on Tuesday to gather intelligence on Iran and other regional adversaries, but later said the new device was not acting in “the expected manner.”

“The satellite entered an orbit around the globe, was contacted, and its systems are being analyzed,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Amnon Harari, director of the ministry’s space administration, later said the satellite “is not acting exactly in the expected manner,” and that efforts are underway “to stabilize it,” without elaborating.

An Israeli security official said the Ofek (meaning horizon) 11 is the country’s “most sophisticated spy satellite to date.” Another official said it can transmit high resolution images in color and relay images from nearly anywhere around the world.

Its predecessor, the Ofek 10, was launched in April 2014. The Ofek 11 is Israel’s seventh espionage satellite. The Ofek 9 and 10 have reportedly sent back exceptional high-quality images and are able to record objects just tens of centimeters in size. Very few other countries have this technology.

A former Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engineer told IDF Radio on Wednesday morning that initial complications with satellites are not uncommon, and that there is no cause for alarm at this time. He recalled previous incidents in which it took two weeks to get the equipment in orbit to work properly.

This launch comes nearly two weeks after an Israeli communications satellite — the Amos-6 — was destroyed in a blast in Florida during Tesla’s pre-takeoff tests.

By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report.