Two satellites that were developed by Israel Aerospace Industries were successfully launched into space from a site in French Guiana early Wednesday morning. One is a reconnaissance satellite that will be used by the Italian military. The other is Israel’s first environmental research satellite, which will transmit images to researchers all over the world.
Watch: The launch
Israel’s first environmental research satellite VENµS, which will be used by the Israel Space Agency, and the advanced reconnaissance satellite OPTSTAT-3000, which was designed for the Italian military, were launched into space early Wednesday morning from a site in French Guiana. Both of the satellites were developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and this is the first time that two such satellites built by Israel have been launched together.
VENµS, the flagship project of the Israeli space agency and its French counterpart, was carried into space by a Vega rocket from the Guiana Space Center. Almost 5 million NIS has been invested in the VENµS project. The satellite was built at the IAI’s space complex and it is the first civilian satellite to be funded by the Israel Space Agency. VENµS is considered the smallest satellite of its type in the world. It will surveil open fields from space for environmental research while monitoring vegetation, afforestation, agriculture and more.
The satellite is equipped with a special camera that can take pictures of things that the human eye cannot see. The satellite will take pictures of fields in Israel and around the world, transmitting dozens of pictures to researchers at universities, research centers and government agencies a day. VENµS will circle Earth 29 times in just 48 hours.
Photo Credit: Arianespace/Channel 2 News
VENµS will photograph about 110 research fields around the world in two days. When the satellite is above Israel, it will focus on three areas: the Galilee, the coastline and the Negev. These areas are where most of Israel’s nature parks and reserves are located.
“The expected VENµS launch is additional proof of Israel’s advanced technological capabilities in all domains,” said Israeli Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis before the launch. “We are a science, technology and space superpower with which all of the world is asking to cooperate. Many countries will soon enjoy the findings that we will receive from VENµS for research studies in the fields of environment, agriculture, water and food.”