On July 7, 2020, The Space Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), of the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), have successfully launched a new spy satellite “Ofek 16” into orbit by using a locally-developed Shavit rocket from a launchpad at Palmachim airbase in central Israel at 4:00 AM.
- Following the launch, ‘Ofek 16’ started sending data and started orbiting around the Earth.It will also monitor Iran and developments in its nuclear and missile programs.
- It is an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities including breakthrough ‘blue and white’ technology and its payload was developed by defense firm Elbit Systems.
- The satellite was tested by engineers from the Ministry of Defense and State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries [ISRAI.UL] before starting full operations.
- IDF’s (Israel Defense Force) 9900 Intelligence Unit will be responsible for the Ofek 16 satellite once it gets operational.
- This was the first launch of an Israeli spy satellite into space since the Ofek-11 which entered orbit in September 2016.
Currency– Israeli Shekel
President– Reuven Rivlin
Prime Minister- Benjamin Netanyahu