The Space Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) of the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), have successfully launched the Ofek 16 reconnaissance satellite into space on the sixth of July 2020, at 4:00 AM. The launch was performed from a launch site based in central Israel, using a Shavit launcher.
According to the Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, “The successful launch of the ‘Ofek 16’ satellite overnight is yet another extraordinary achievement for the defense establishment, for the defense industries as a whole, and for Israel Aerospace Industries in particular. The fact that Israel is one of the 13 countries in the world with satellite launching capabilities is not a given, and was made possible by the people who have been investing in these systems and advancing breakthrough capabilities over the years”.
The Ofek 16 is an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities, and the Ofek series has been produced and launched since 1988. The Space Administration in IMoD has led the development and production of the satellite and its launcher, with IAI as the prime contractor. The company’s Systems, Missiles and Space Group together with the MLM Division, was among those responsible for the development of the launcher.
Elbit Systems was responsible for the development and production of the satellite’s advanced camera and payload, and the launch engines were developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Tomer, a government-owned company. Additional companies participated in the program include Rokar and Cielo.
The Director of Security for the Defense Establishment oversaw the security arrangements of the program. Once the satellite is deemed fully operational, the Ministry of Defense will deliver responsibilities to the IDF’s ‘9900’ Intelligence Unit.
For more information visit www.iai.co.il