Israel Launches Advanced Spy Satellite

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel latest spy satellite, launched at 10 p.m. Tuesday, was already transmitting data by Wednesday morning, Army Radio reported.

The Ofek 9 is equipped with a higher-resolution camera that will further enhance the ability to gather critical intelligence information.

Launched from the Palmachim Air Force base south of Tel Aviv, the Defense Ministry described the Ofek 9 as an "advanced technology remote sensing satellite" that allows more "frequent activity at higher resolution."

In concert with two other active satellites, the Ofek 9 will enable Israel to monitor enemy activity with exceptional precision.

"The launch today is a technological and operational achievement," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

"Few states, especially states the size of Israel, are capable of handling such a complex challenge," Barak said.

"The success of the launch is an expression of the valor, thinking and extensive abilities of the defense industries and security establishment in Israel," he said.

Defense Ministry officials described the Ofek 9 as one of Israel's most advanced satellites.

In its orbit 300 miles above the earth, it has about a four-year lifespan. 

Israel launched its last satellite, the TecSar, in 2008 from India. The next one, Opsat 3000, will be equipped with even higher-resolution imaging ability.


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