The Ofek 10 Satellite was successfully launched last night (Wednesday) from Palmahim airbase. Head of MAFAT's Space Administration, Amnon Harari said that "at ten o'clock we launched the Ofek 10 satellite after an effort of several years of development and production. The launch is a continued process. Until now everything we had planned works flawlessly. There are still quite a few steps before we can say that the success is a full one".
Harari further said that "the satellite is a radar-based observation satellite that should give us intelligence in any visibility condition, day, night and all weather conditions. The satellite was launched using an Israeli Shavit launcher. Over the years there have been required changes due to the need to raise the spacecraft weight. A satellite is a strategic element and we work according to a multi-year plan. It has performed a series of autonomous actions."
On the entry of the satellite into operational service Harari said: "We are beginning a process of several months of tests and then it will enter operational service. Every hour and a half it orbits around the Earth. Dozens of engineers and personnel of the Intelligence Corps will sit tonight in front of the monitors to pick it up. The difference between it and other satellites is that Ofek 10 very flexible in its maneuvering and it can be directed to collect real-time targets. The Intelligence Corps' Satellite Unit personnel tell it to leap from one target to the other; it finds them and keeps going. We can change where it looks at. The radar is its camera that gives a picture visibility similar to an optical image. We are also working on optical satellites and radar satellites. The satellite is cruising at an altitude of 400 to 600 kilometers".
Ofer Doron , CEO of the Israel Aerospace Industries' Space Division said the "We have developed the satellite over years. Elta made the radar. The satellite has exceptional photographic ability, but it is very small and it's designed to deliver very precise, high quality images under all conditions".
Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon said that "the successful launch of the Ofek 10 satellite last night is a further testimony to Israel's impressive ability to develop and lead at the forefront of technology. Ofek 10 is meant to improve Israel's intelligence capabilities and allow the defense establishment to better deal with threats both close and far, all hours of the day and in all weather conditions. We continue to increase the vast qualitative and technological advantage over our neighbors.
This is the time to congratulate those involved in the making in the Ministry of Defense, the members of the Space Administration of MAFAT and people of IAI, IMI, Elbit and Rafael, for continuing the development of sophisticated and unique systems, world –leading ones, aimed to protect the State of Israel and its citizens. Israel is blessed with a defense industry that is exceptional in its quality, its creativity and its commitment to the security of the state and its citizens, and a remarkable ability to reach every time a new peak and reach another record."
The project is led by the Space Administration of MAFAT (the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure) at the IMOD and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is its main contractor. Other defense industries, including IMI (which developed the two rocket engines of the satellite launcher and pyrotechnic systems that are in it) and Elbit Systems were involved in the making of the launcher, the satellite and the photographic equipment installed on it.