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Israel launches Ofek 16 reconnaissance satellite

Ofek 16 reconnaissance satellite
Photo: Israel defense ministry

The Israel Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries have successfully launched the “Ofek 16” reconnaissance satellite from a launch site site in central Israel.

The Space Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), used a Shavit launcher to launch the satellite into space on July 6.

Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz said the launch was a “mighty achievement for the defense establishment, the defense industries and Israel Aerospace Industries in particular.”

The launch of the Ofek 16 electro-optical reconnaissance satellite comes some four years after Israel last launched a satellite; the Ofek 11.

During the initial period of operation, the satellite will undergo a series of tests to determine its propriety and performance level.

The Space Administration in the Israel Ministry of Defense has led the development and production of the satellite and the launcher.

IAI is the prime contractor, having assigned the program to its Systems, Missiles and Space Group, together with the MLM division, which is responsible for the development of the launcher. The satellite’s payload was developed by Elbit Systems. The launch engines were developed by Rafael Advanced Systems and Tomer, a government-owned defense company.