An Israeli commercial observation satellite was successfully launched into orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Friday.
The EROS C-3 satellite, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and owned and operated by private Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International, is capable of producing “very high-resolution images” and will be used for “governmental and business applications,” IAI said in a statement.
The advanced “multispectral” space camera was produced by Israel’s Elbit systems, and enables the satellite to take color photos.
“After launch, the satellite entered its planned orbit around the Earth and began transmitting data to the ground station,” IAI said in its statement.
“Engineers at Israel Aerospace Industries have begun a series of preplanned calibrations and tests to validate the satellite’s performance, and complete the preplan test prior to full operation soon,” it added.
According to SpaceX, the reusable first stage segment of its Falcon 9 rocket successfully touched back down on a launch pad eight minutes after lift-off.
It was the final launch of the company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, for 2022.
IAI’s board of directors chairman Amir Peretz hailed the launch as “further proof of the company’s technological leadership as a true path-breaker in space as in other arenas.
“The outputs from the satellite launched today, and the important findings that it will transmit to the ground station, will assist IAI in continuing to improve its advanced capabilities in these areas.”
IAI president and CEO Boaz Levy said: “Today’s launch of the EROS-C3 satellite is a further expression of the advanced technological capabilities of Israel Aerospace Industries, the space house of the State of Israel.”
IAI develops and manufactures advanced systems for air, space, sea, land, cyber and homeland security. Since 1953, the company has provided technology solutions to government and commercial customers worldwide, including satellites, missiles, weapon systems and munitions, unmanned and robotic systems, and radar.
ImageSat International’s CEO Noam Segal hailed the launch, saying it was a “significant milestone” for the company and “will enable us to accelerate the company’s growth.”
Israel’s Defense Ministry previously outsourced ISI’s imagery in the early 2000s, after the failed launch of the military Ofek-4 satellite.
The EROS satellites are widely believed to have been built using commercialized technology from the Ofek series of military reconnaissance satellites.
The Israeli military currently operates the Ofek-16 spy satellite, launched in 2020. It has a planned five-year mission duration. Times of Israel