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The Israeli spy satellite Ofeq 9 was launched June 23rd from the Palmachim Air Force Base on Israel's Mediterranean coast. The new satellite is the sixth satellite in the Ofeq (Horizon in Hebrew) family of satellites, which began with the launch of the Ofeq 3 in 1995. Credit: IAI Ofeq 9 uses the OpSat 2000 bus employed with the Ofeq 5 and Ofeq 7 satellites. It carries a new High-resolution camera payload developed by Elbit Systems' EL-OP. The payload is believed to be the 'Neptune', developed by EL-OP. Positioned at an altitude of 600 kilometers, Neptune's sensors record images both in black and white and color, at a resolution of 0.5 meter (mono) and 2m (PAN). Credit: Elbit Systems EL-OP Ofeq 9 weighs 294Kg and measures 2.3m in length, its diameter (with the 3.6 meter long panels in the stowed position) is 1.2 m. The satellite stores 30 liters of hydrazine fuel, necessary for station keeping through its lifespan. Pointing the camera is achieved by reaction wheels, effectively stabilizing and controlling the satellite's attitude in orbit without the use of liquid fuel. The satellite can also be positioned to offer optimal exposure for the solar arrays, producing 400 watts of electrical power in average, sustaining the satellite through its orbit. The OFEK 9 Satellite was launched with IAI's Shavit satellite launcher. This 30 ton, 20 m high launcher is believed to be a derivative of Israel's Jericho II ballistic missile. Two years ago Israel tested a new version of the Jericho, which could be the platform for the new and improved satellite launcher developed by IAI for future missions. Shavit is intended for launching and placing satellites in low orbits, ranging from 200–500 km above earth. This three-stage launcher uses two stages of solid rocket motors made by IMI and a third, upper stage provided by Rafael. Credit: IAI (more Photos) OFEQ 9 Launch Video
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