Space: Ofek Stumbles And Recovers

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October 7, 2016: On September 13th Israel launched another recon satellite; Ofek 11. While the satellite achieved orbit it soon lost communications with ground control. The Ofek was built with “fail-safe” and self-repair software and it was hoped whatever was wrong could be fixed. After nine days ground control regained contact and it appears the Ofek 11 was operational. At least it was sending back digital images. So far it appears that Ofek 11 is fully functional but it is still unclear if it will remain so for eight years (at least), as it was designed to to.

The 375 kg (825 pound) Ofek 11 was described as an upgraded Okek 10, which went up in April 2014. The first Ofek went up in 1988 and the last two are upgrades of the Ofek 9 that entered service in 2010. The Ofek 9 weighed about 300 kg (660 pounds) and used a new generation of sensors that were able to see objects as small as 55 cm (twenty inches). Ofek 10 was a little heavier with new electronics providing better resolution and Ofek 11 was more of the same. All three are mainly for keeping tabs on Iran and what Iran is doing in Syria and Lebanon. The Ofek satellites are put into orbit using Israeli designed and built rockets.

 


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