Israel Launches Latest-Generation Ofek Satellite Into Space

The launch of the Ofek-13, Wednesday morning. (Defense Ministry)

Israel launched a spy satellite into space from the Palmachim air base on Wednesday morning, the Defense Ministry announced.

According to the Defense 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 Defense Ministry will deliver it to the Israeli Defense 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 who 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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