Eyes on Iran, Israel launches new spy satellite
Reuters – June 11, 2007
Israel launched a new spy satellite on Monday in a move that defence officials said would boost surveillance over states like Syria and Iran.
Ofek 7, which was launched from an air base on Israel's coast, will join its predecessor Ofek 5, in space since 2002. The new satellite will orbit 200 to 500 km (125 to 315 miles) above the earth and is expected to begin relaying photographs by week's end.
"The successful launch adds an important layer to Israel's defence capabilities and it is a testament to Israel's technological strength," Defence Minister Amir Peretz said in a statement.
Haim Eshed, head of the Defence Ministry's space directorate, told Army Radio that Ofek 7 would help Israel "deal with the Iranian issue". Iran's nuclear programme has raised fears in the West, though Tehran denies it has hostile designs.
Eshed declined to discuss Ofek 7's capabilities. But he said that its civilian counterpart, Israeli satellite Eros, was able to photograph objects as small as 70 cm (28 inches) across.
Last updated 11/06/2007