Israel Have Successfully Launched the "Ofek 16" Satellite Which Has Begun its Orbit in Space

  • By Editor
  • 07 06
  • 2020

By Itzhak Rabihiya


Israel announces this morning successful launch of new spy satellite. Defense Ministry says 'Ofek 16' was already transmitting data and beginning to orbit around the Earth, having been launched just hours earlier; Gantz called the launch an 'extraordinary achievement' 


Israel successfully launched a new spy satellite early on Monday, the Defense Ministry confirmed. It said the "Ofek 16" reconnaissance satellite was launched at 4am from central Israel into space. It described the Ofek as an "electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities."


Shortly after the launch, it said the Ofek already was transmitting data and beginning to orbit around the Earth. It said engineers from the ministry and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries were conducting tests before it begins full operational activities. 


Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the launch an "extraordinary achievement." "Technological superiority and intelligence capabilities are essential to the security of the state of Israel," he said. 


Gantz stressed that technological and intelligence advantage was crucial for Israel's security, adding that Israel is among only 13 countries that can launch their satellites independently, standing alongside the U.S., Russia, China, France, Italy, UK, India, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Ukraine and Iran. The launch of Israel's first intelligence-gathering satellite, called Ofek1, was conducted on September 19, 1988. The launch was carried out in secret in order not to reveal to Israel's regional enemies the country's technological advancement. 


The last time Israel launched a spy satellite was four years ago, when Ofek 11 took off from The Palmachim Airbase on September 13, 2016.


photo credit: Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office


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