JERUSALEM – Israel’s capacity to keep tabs on Iran was boosted Wednesday night after the successful launch into space of its 10th and most advanced satellite to date.
The satellite, which Israelis call Ofek 10 (Ofek meaning horizon in Hebrew), entered into orbit around the Earth in the early hours of Thursday morning and immediately started transmitting signals back, according to information shared by Israel’s Ministry of Defense and Israel Aerospace Industries.
A video of the launch as well as animation of the satellite in orbit can be seen below:
The Ofek 10 will be used for military purposes, Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has said, including monitoring Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons development and that country’s involvement in supporting militant groups in neighboring Arab countries.
Following the launch, Ya'alon said the venture was "further testimony to Israel's impressive ability to develop and lead at the forefront of technology.”
He added that Ofek 10 would improve Israel's “intelligence capabilities and allow the defense establishment to better deal with threats both close and far, all hours of the day and in all weather conditions. We continue to increase the vast qualitative and technological advantage over our neighbors."
Just last month during a visit to Washington, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated to both President Obama and to U.S. Jewish leaders his warnings about Iran’s desire to obtain nuclear weapons and what it would mean if they were successful.
“Letting the worst terrorist regime on the planet get atomic bombs would endanger everyone, and it certainly would endanger Israel since Iran openly calls for our destruction,” Netanyahu told U.S. Jews gathered at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference.
This is the seventh Israeli satellite in orbit — Israel launched its previous incarnation, Ofek 9, in June 2010. The new Ofek is an remote-sensing observation satellite that employs synthetic aperture radar technology with advanced high-resolution imagery, capable of operating day or night and in all weather conditions.