Israel launches spy “Ofek 13” satellite into space satellite

March 29, 2023 by Pesach Benson
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The 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 today.

Photo: Israel Ministry of Defence Spokesperson’s Office

The launch took place at a test site in central Israel using a “Shavit” launcher.

According to the Defence Ministry, the Ofek-13 reconnaissance satellite successfully entered orbit, completed an initial series of pre-planned inspections and began transmitting data back to Israel.

Engineers will continue pre-planned inspections before Ofek 13 begins full operational activity in the near future. Once the satellite is deemed fully operational, the Ministry of Defense will deliver it to the Israeli Defence Force’s 9900 Intelligence Unit for operational use.

“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,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who was present at the launch.

“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. We will continue to prove that even the sky isn’t the limit for the Israeli defense establishment and that we continue to enhance its capabilities in every dimension in the face of various challenges,” Gallant said.

The satellite is the 13th in Israel’s Ofek series.

Israel Aerospace Industries was the primary contractor for the satellite, which was launched on a Shavit rocket developed by Rafael Advanced Systems and Tomer, a government-owned company.

Israel launched its first satellite into space in 1988.

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