Israeli spy satellite working after initial difficulties

Israel’s Defense Ministry is reporting that its recently launched spy satellite, the Ofek 11, is now working properly after undergoing some technical difficulties.

Ofek 11, the new and recently launched Israeli spy satellite, is operational and taking high-quality pictures after experiencing technical difficulties shortly after its launch earlier this month.

Amnon Harari, director of the Defense Ministry’s space administration, said satellite operators downloaded the first images from the satellite on Thursday.

“The images are splendid, very good,” he told reporters.

The satellite was initially “not acting as expected.”

Harari said that since then, technical teams have been busy stabilizing the satellite and its systems.

Ofek 11 has been described as the country’s most sophisticated spy satellite. It is expected to be used to keep tabs on Iran’s nuclear and military development and other regional adversaries.

“It’s going to be used for looking at a lot of bad guys all over the place,” said Ofer Doron, head of the space division at state-owned Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), the manufacturer of the satellite.

Doron said the satellite took images of “interesting” places in the region on Thursday. He declined to provide details, but said the photos were “absolutely” the quality the satellite’s designers had intended.

“You should smile when you look up at it,” he said.

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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.

“Satellites are a tool that allow us to look beyond the horizon, to see and investigate all of our areas of interest and best deal with threats,” explained Maj. Guy, Head of the Advanced SIGINT and Space Department in the Israel Air Force (IAF). “The satellites allow communication at all times and anywhere. The satellites are a power multiplier and produce a great amount of product for the IAF.”

The Israeli satellites add another layer to the deciphering of the aerial image performed by intelligence units in the IAF and IDF and they are of a great significance in the strategic and tactical aspects of Israel’s strength and security.

“The Israeli satellites have a long lifetime and we enjoy their products for a long time, but we are working on the improvement of resolution and availability and want to advance into various worlds of knowledge,” shared Maj. Guy. “The main challenge is the launch. We must take the launch area into consideration and make sure that there is no falling debris, so everything has to be very carefully calculated.”

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