Israeli ‘spy satellite’ sends first pictures from space

After a series of tests last week that gradually brought all systems online, the reconnaissance satellite, likely to be used to monitor Iran, sent its first pictures on Tuesday.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries said they received the first satellite images from Ofek-16 on Tuesday.

Since the satellite’s launch on July 6, Israel has conducted a series of tests, in which all systems were activated and satellite cameras were turned on.

The reconnaissance satellite will likely be used to keep tabs on Iran and its efforts to obtain nuclear warheads. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after last Monday’s launch that Ofek-16 “significantly strengthens Israel’s defenses against opponents near and far.”

Also following the launch, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, “The successful launch of the Ofek-16 satellite overnight is yet another extraordinary achievement for the defense establishment, for the defense industries as a whole, and for Israel Aerospace Industries in particular.”

“Technological superiority and intelligence capabilities are essential to the security of the State of Israel. The fact that Israel is one of the 13 countries in the world with satellite launching capabilities is not a given, and was made possible by the people who have been investing in these systems and advancing breakthrough capabilities over the years. We will continue to strengthen and maintain Israel’s capabilities on every front, in every place.”

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Israel launched its first satellite (Ofek 1) in 1988. In the years following, the Ministry of Defense allocated significant budgets in the field of satellite development.

Israel was the seventh country in the world to achieve full space capabilities. It is currently one of 13 countries with such capabilities, alongside the U.S., Italy, France, Japan, India, the U.K., Ukraine, China, Russia, Iran, North and South Korea.