The Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMoD) Space and Satellite Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research & Development (DDR&D), the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) successfully launched the “Ofek 13” satellite into space at 02:10 IST Mar 29. The launch took place at a test site in central Israel using a “Shavit” launcher. The satellite successfully entered orbit, has begun transmitting data, and completed an initial series of inspections in accordance with original launch plans. The “Ofek 13″ satellite was developed based on the experience of the defense establishment and IAI in the production of earlier satellites in the “Ofek” series, which have been launched since 1988. IMoD and IAI engineers will continue pre-planned inspections before it begins full operational activity in the near future.
Head of the IMOD’s Space and Satellite Administration, Avi Bergersaid: “’Ofek 13′ is a SAR satellite with the most advanced capabilities of its kind, entirely developed in Israel. The launch was successful, according to plan. Initial indications from the satellite are also very good. Within the coming weeks, we will complete technical tests and receive the first pictures before delivering the satellite for operational use by the IDF.”
President and CEO of IAI, Boaz Levy: “The ‘Ofek 13’ satellite that was launched today is additional proof of IAI’s power as Israel’s space home and its significant contribution to the Israeli defense establishment. From now on, Israel will gain ground-breaking intelligence capabilities. The ‘Ofek 13’ is the most advanced of its kind with unique radar observation capabilities and will enable intelligence collection in any weather and conditions of visibility, thus enhancing strategic intelligence.”
Head of the DDR&D, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Dr. Daniel Gold said: “We launched a SAR satellite into space that is equipped with the utmost advanced abilities at the peak of global technology. The launch of “Ofek 13″ has proven Israel’s superiority in the field of space yet again. It also constitutes a leap forward in operational and technological abilities for the preservation and improvement of Israel’s standing in space for the coming decades.”
Defense Minister Yoav Galant, said: “The successful launch of the satellite is yet another important example of the Israeli defense establishment’s groundbreaking innovation. Israel has already proved its diverse space capabilities many times and is one of very few countries to possess such capabilities – capabilities that we continue to develop and strengthen. Our proud accomplishment today is first and foremost thanks to our engineers’ creativity, talent and consistency in addition to the hard work of outstanding professionals that took part in this operation..”
The Israeli Ministry of Defense’s Space and Satellite Administration has led the development and production of the satellite and its launcher. The development process also includes the Israel Defense Forces’s 9900 Intelligence Unit and the Israeli Air Force. Israel Aerospace Industries is the prime contractor for the development of the satellite, launcher, and ground station monitoring system. The System Missiles and Space Group led by the Space division operates the project alongside with ELTA, an Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary, and the MLM division. The launch engines were developed by Rafael Advanced Systems and Tomer, a government-owned company. Once the satellite is deemed fully operational, the Ministry of Defense will deliver it to the IDF’s 9900 Intelligence Unit for operational use.