In preparation for operational activity, the Defense Ministry and Israel Aerospace Industries on Tuesday released images taken by the Ofek 16 satellite over Syria.
Ofek 16, which was successfully launched into space last month, is an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities. It is equipped with a high-quality camera developed and manufactured by Elbit Systems. The camera has the best performance and weight characteristics available on the market.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that “the technological means we develop in the Ministry of Defense together with our industries, are effective and significant tools in maintaining Israel’s security. We will continue to work and promote Israel’s technological advance and edge, an element that is essential in contending with the many challenges we face.”
The engineering teams of the DDR&D and IAI are continuing their work in preparing the Ofek 16 satellite for operational use. The images taken over Syria show the Tadmor world heritage site, ancient ruins and the renowned Roman theater.
Hundreds of millions of shekels were invested in the national infrastructure for the production of space cameras. Shared by the Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems, it includes labs for the production of lenses and mirrors, as well as a vacuum chamber that simulates the conditions in space, and that is used to test the satellite camera before it is launched for its mission.
In the near future, and upon the completion of the “in orbit testing” process led by the DDR&D, IAI, and the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate, the Ministry of Defense will transfer the satellite to IDF Unit 9900 for operational use.