Israel sent two new satellites into space at the same time, including its first environmental research satellite.
Early Wednesday morning, the Israel Space Agency (ISA) simultaneously launched two satellites on the Vega launcher in French New Guinea.
The satellites are the OptSat 3000 spy satellite, acquired by Italy’s Ministry of Defense, and Israel’s first environmental research satellite, Venus.
Venus, which stands for “Vegetation and Environment Monitoring on a New Micro Satellite,” is a flagship satellite project between the ISA and the French government’s space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev said in a press release that the Venus satellite is Israel’s first scientific observation satellite capable of conducting agricultural and ecological research.
Prof. Arnon Karnieli, head of the Remote Sensing Laboratory at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in Sde Boker, Israel, is Venus’ principal investigator and will use the satellite to collaborate with his French counterpart, Dr. Gerard Dedieu.
Israel’s Scientific ‘Courage and Innovation’
The university said that environmental research satellites have become increasingly important in recent years in light of rising environmental hazards such as population overcrowding, the dwindling of arable land, pollution and natural disasters. The satellite will track agricultural fields and other natural areas, recording data about the status of the land, foliage, forestation, agriculture, quality of water sources, and more. The satellite will transmit images every two days of the chosen research sites worldwide to Karnieli and Dedieu. The first images are expected to be available to researchers on November 1.
“Israel is renowned the world over for its courage and innovation, elements which are expressed in the technological development of Venus as well,” said Israel’s Science, Technology and Space Minister, Ofir Akunis.
This launch was the first instance in which two Israeli satellites were sent into space simultaneously, other than concurrent launches of microscopic nanosatellites.
By: JNS.org and World Israel News Staff