Israel’s "Ofeq 9" satellite was launched and successfully injected into orbit by means of a "Shavit" satellite launcher. In the next phase, the satellite will undergo several tests for validation of its serviceability and satisfactory performance. "Ofeq-9" is an advanced remote sensing satellite. The increasing use of small satellites for purposes of remote sensing, observation and communication stimulated Israel to develop capabilities of launching satellites by IAI / MLM Division. The SHAVIT satellite launcher is intended for launching and placing satellites in low orbits (ranging from 200 – 500 Km above earth). The SHAVIT satellite launcher is a 3-stage launcher, using solid rocket motors made by IMI and RAFAEL. The launcher is 20 m high and weighs approximately 30 tons. The SHAVIT launcher has been in use since 1988, when the first OFEQ satellite was put into orbit. Since then, many launcher improvements took place, creating additional capabilities for launching advanced satellites. The SHAVIT launcher successfully launched the OFEQ 7 satellite in June 2009. Due to Israel's geographical location in the East Mediterranean, satellite launching is directed towards west. The westbound launching, against earth rotation, reduces the maximal satellite weight which can be placed in orbit, but the high efficiency of the launcher and the satellites thrusters compensate for this fact. -- Launching process:The process of preparation for launching is done from a dedicated wagon which controls the satellites launcher by communication to the control center, where the experts analyze the data received from the launcher. Shortly after the first two stages, the launcher leaves the atmosphere to the outer space. The launcher's 3rd stage will continue unpowered cruising. In which the satellite shroud is removed and the satellite is exposed to the space environment in the first time. During cruising, the launcher will be spun for stabilization and the main instrument chamber will be separated from it in order to accelerate only the necessary weight to the final orbit. At an altitude of 250 Km above earth, the 3rd stage motor will be ignited, providing the launcher with required speed and will position the satellite in the planned orbit. In this stage, the satellite will be separated from the launcher and will start its independent mission in space. OFEQ 9 is an observation satellite of the OFEQ series. It is manufactured by IAI / MBT Space division, the main contractor for all Israel's space programs. The satellite will join the OFEQ 5 satellite, launched in 2002 and OFEQ 7, launched in 2007. Launching OFEQ 9 enhances Israel's capability un space. Three OFEQ satellites will be operated in orbit: 5, 7 and 9. The satellite will be launched to an elliptical transfer orbit - 620 x 307 Km, following the satellite performs independent transition to the final orbit. Main satellite characteristics:
-- Weight: approx. 300 Kg.
-- Height: 2.3 m.
-- Width with open wings: 1.2 m.
-- Span with stowed wings: 3.6 m.
-- Life span: over 4 years OFEQ 9: Performances and data
--Resolution at 500 Km: better than 70 cm.
--Scanning swath: approx. 7 km.
--Pointing accuracy: 20 m.