Space: August 24, 2001


The Israeli electronic newsletter DEBKA claimed on 5 July that the Ofeq-5 spy satellite had been launched on 26 June. This seemed reasonable as tensions in the region might have accelerated the launch schedule. Ofeq-4 had crashed in October 2000 and Ofeq-5 had been scheduled for a September 2001 launch. The problem was that no one could find an orbiting satellite that matched the report. Speculation began that the launch had failed and that Ofeq-5 was at the bottom of the ocean. The Israelis then revealed that Ofeq-5 is still in its warehouse waiting for its previously-announced September launch. It appears that the 26 June "satellite launch" reported by DEBKA might have been a test of the Arrow anti-missile.--Stephen V Cole


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