from the June 2006 issue

Israel launches satellite

The ImageSat company launched the Eros B high-resolution reconnaissance satellite from Siberia. The Eros B satellite was launched from a mobile pad at the Svobodny cosmodrome in the Far East.

About 20 minutes later from its launch, the satellite successfully reached orbit, Russian news agencies reported, citing the space forces' news service. "The Israeli satellite reached its target orbit and has been transferred to the client's control," a Russian spokesman reported. Photographs were of "excellent" quality, according to the control room of the company, which launched the Eros B satellite. The ground control station, located in the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) complex in Yehud, will be able to control the satellite's navigation and keep it stationed for an extended time over particularly sensitive targets such as the Iranian nuclear reactor, which is too far for Israeli drones to reach. The satellite, which Israeli companies were involved in developing, will also be able to provide images of launch sites for long-range Iranian missiles.

The Eros B satellite will be joining the Eros A, which was launched by ImageSat aboard a Russian Start-1 launch vehicle on December 5, 2000. In contrast to the Eros B, its predecessor can distinguish between images only if they are at least 1.5 meters apart. The satellite is designed to spot images on the ground as small as 27 1/2 inches, an Israeli defense official said. That level of resolution would allow Israel to gather information on Iran's nuclear program and its long-range missiles, which are capable of striking Israel The satellite, which can remain in orbit for six years, can photograph the same spot on the Earth once every four days, according to ITAR-Tass.

"The most important thing in a satellite is its ability to photograph and its resolution," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive subject matter. "This satellite has very high resolution, and Israel Aircraft Industries has a great capability to process information that is relayed.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report June 2006

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