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Israel to launch spy satellite from foreign country

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midastouch017   Monday, 02/05/07 04:17:33 AM
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Israel to launch spy satellite from foreign country
The decision on the foreign launch was made after the three failures of the “Shavit” launcher.
Amnon Barzilai 4 Feb 07 17:34
Sources inform ''Globes'' that Israel is to launch an advanced surveillance satellite from the territory of a foreign country. This will be the first time that Israel has not used the local “Shavit” launcher to launch an operational espionage satellite.
The satellite in question is manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. subsidiary MBT (MABAT) - Weapon Systems and Space Technology, and it can take images in both daytime and nighttime, in all visibility and weather conditions. Speaking last week at a symposium on Israel’s space policy at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzilya Ministry of Defense space program head Brig. Gen. (res) Prof. Haim Eshed said the satellite would be a global breakthrough and that it would provide the infrastructure for the micro satellite industry in Israel.

Israel Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedi, who also addressed the symposium said that Israel should be concerned by China’s attempts at satellite interception. “Israel needs to make sure it knows both how to create assets in space and how to safeguard them,” he said.

It is believed that Israel will launch the satellite from India, and that for the first time, it will be launched using an Indian satellite launcher rather than the Israeli “Shavit” launcher.

The state of the Shavit’s operational fitness was apparently one of the reasons behind the move of the satellite launch to a foreign country, where another launcher could be used in its place. In two of the three launches made over the last decade, the Shavit failed to propel the “Ofek” satellite out of the earth’s atmosphere. These failures caused losses totaling $200 million, and reduced the early warning capacity that the defense establishment seeks to maintain in order to cope with the Iranian threat.

The new radar satellite, called “Tech Saar,” is equipped with a special antenna. It differs in size and shape to the “Ofek” but will be a similar weight, 350-400 kg. The defense establishment is covering the full cost of its development and production.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on February 4, 2007

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