Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have reeived first images from Ofek 16 satellite launched on July 6.
On July 14, engineering teams of the Space Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), IMoD and IAI operated the satellite’s observation camera for the first time. High-quality images were received over night, at an IAI control station in the city of Yehud (central Israel), the company said.
Since the launch last Monday, IAI and IMoD teams have conducted a series of pre-planned tests during which all of the satellite’s systems and subsystems were activated in a gradual and controlled manner. Upon completion of the process, the satellite’s camera was activated. In the coming weeks, engineering teams will complete the rigorous tests, and prepare the satellite for operational use.
The Ofek 16 satellite is an electro-optical observation satellite with advanced capabilities. It is equipped with a high-quality camera developed and manufactured by Elbit Systems. In the coming weeks, following the completion of the ‘in orbit testing’ process conducted by the DDR&D, IAI and the IDF, the Ministry of Defense will transfer responsibilities to Unit 9900 of the IDF’s Intelligence Cops, after which the satellite will be declared operational.
The Space Administration in the Israel Ministry of Defense has led the development and production of the satellite and its launcher. IAI is the prime contractor, having assigned the program to its Systems, Missiles and Space Group, together with the MLM division, which is responsible for the development of the launcher. The satellite’s payload was developed by Elbit Systems. The launch engines were developed by Rafael Advanced Systems and Tomer, a government-owned defense company. Additional companies have participated in this program, including Rokar and Cielo. Various IDF officials, primarily from the Intelligence Corps and Air Force were also involved in the satellite development process.