אופק: הישראלי שהגיע הכי רחוק
המוצר: לוויין מפיתוח ישראלי
החברה: התעשייה האווירית
תחילת הפיתוח: 1984
Product: Israeli Developed Satellite
Company: Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)
Start of Development: 1984
On September 19th 1988, Israel joined the small, exclusive technology group of nations with indigenous launch capabilities.
Ofeq 1, Israel’s first satellite, was launched into space atop the Shavit, its space launch vehicle. The launch was designed to test technologies, to establish the capabilities of the satellite and launch system developers, to place the satellite in an earth orbit, and to examine its systems operations under space conditions.
Ofeq 1 remained in orbit for 118 days and circled the earth 1,900 times.
The first Israeli satellite was conceived covertly in 1984 after an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Defense and the IAI. Its launch came as a great surprise to the world and to intelligence professionals, and positioned Israel as the eighth country in the world to have successfully launched an indigenous satellite into orbit.
The year 1990 saw the launch of Ofeq 2, another technological frontrunner with objectives similar to those of its predecessor. This satellite had new processing and computer systems that had been tested under space conditions. Results extracted from the operational data of the two technological satellite systems demonstrated the ability of Israeli scientists to develop, manufacture, and launch satellites into space.
Israel’s first observation satellite, Ofeq 3, was successfully launched in 1995. Despite its small dimensions and its light weight, it was equipped with a propulsion system and an electro-optical camera. It circled the earth every 90 minutes.
Ofeq 5 was successfully launched in 2002. It was the second generation of observation satellites, incorporating more advanced systems for improved performance. 2007 saw the successful launch of observation satellite Ofeq 7, which had similar configuration to Ofeq 5. Just 72 hours after its launch, the satellite sent images to the ground station, demonstrating its significant contribution to Israel’s military observation capabilities from space.
In 2010, observation satellite Ofeq 9 was launched. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observation satellite Ofeq 10 was launched in 2014, with advanced capabilities for day and night all-weather imaging. The most recent satellite launched to date is observation satellite Ofeq 11, which was launched in 2016.
Observation satellite development is constantly evolving. These satellites now include imaging systems with increasingly higher resolution, and are based on state-of-the-art technologies allowing them to operate in space for longer stretches of time.