Ofeq 5 – Israel Launch New Spy Satellite

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Ofeq 5, The latest satellite in the Ofeq series was launched by an IAI/MLM Shavit satellite launcher, from Palmachim missile test center on the Israeli Mediterranean coast on May 28, 2002.

Ofeq 5 is a reconnaissance satellite carrying a remote sensing payload that will enable it to perform its high-resolution observation missions for national needs. Ofeq 5 is believed to be capable of delivering both panchromatic and color images, at resolutions substantially exceeding those provided by Israeli commercial satellite services (0.8 meter).

OFEQ-5, built by IAI/MBT, belongs to the class of small and lightweight satellites. Its launch weight is about 300 kg, it has a height of 2.3 meters and 1.2 meter diameter. It is a three-axes stabilized, lightweight satellite platform, adapted for high-resolution observation, scientific, or, technological payloads. Its design is based on the proven technologies employed in the Ofeq series.

The satellite circles the Earth, from East to West, every hour and a half, at an approximate angle of inclination 143 degrees. OFEQ-5’s lightweight allows for maximum agility over target to yield rapid image acquisition. It acquires images in swaths ahead of satellite trajectory, beneath it and lateral to it.It is designed to operate at altitudes between 370 and 600 km above the surface of the Earth. Higher altitudes will prolong its mission duration in space while lower altitudes enable higher ground sampling resolutions imagery. The projected lifetime of the satellite is approximately four years.

IAI Bedek is currently developing the follow-on satellite in the Ofeq program, designated Ofeq 6. It will employ a more advanced payload, capable of all-weather operation. It is not clear yet, if the sensor will employ cloud penetration capability provided by radar or imaging, or night and limited weather penetration, enabled by thermal imaging.

Images: Ofeq 5 shown at IAI/MBT before loading into the Shavit satellite launcher. (page middle – the satellite shown in deployed comnfiguration).

Ofeq 5 specifications:

Launch weight:  ~300kg
Length:  2.3 m
Diameter:  1.2 m
Orbit:  370 – 600 km
Orbit:  elliptical polar
Inclination:  143 deg.