(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israel on Tuesday successfully launched the Ofek-11 surveillance satellite into space, mere weeks after the Amos-6 satellite, carrying state of the art communications technology, was destroyed in a static test malfunction, just two days before it was scheduled to be launched into orbit.
While Ofek-11 entered orbit as planned, it began experiencing technical issues that interrupted its steady communications with its control station, at the Palmachim Air Base in central Israel, almost immediately.
"It is going to be a while before we can assess if this launch was fully successful, there are some issues that we are still concerned about," an Israeli defense official said Tuesday night. "We can't be 100% optimistic, but we are not 100% pessimistic either."
Another official noted that "some things appear to be out of the ordinary, but we have yet to complete our assessment; we are trying to stabilize its systems."
The Israel Aerospace Industries designed Ofek-11 as an all-weather radar imaging satellite that can provide imagery at all hours of the day. It was fitted with more sophisticated systems than the Ofek-10, which was launched from the same launch site in 2014.
The first Israeli satellite, Ofek-1, was launched into space in 1988. At the time, Israel was the eighth country to have successfully developed and launched a satellite into space. Today 12 countries have this capability.