WASHINGTON — Israel conducted its first domestic satellite launch in four years April 9, lofting the Ofeq 10 radar reconnaissance satellite into orbit aboard a Shavit rocket, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI), the prime contractor for the rocket and satellite, announced in an April 10 press release.
Liftoff occurred at 10:15 p.m. local time from the Israeli Air Force’s Palmachim Airbase on the Mediterranean coast. The satellite entered orbit early April 10, where it underwent a series of tests and began transmitting data and imagery, IAI said.
Ofeq 10 is equipped with a synthetic aperture radar capable of collecting high-resolution imagery in all weather conditions day or night, IAI said.
The press release provided no details of Ofeq 10’s orbit. Previous Ofeq satellites have been launched into retrograde orbits — meaning opposite the direction of Earth’s rotation — at medium inclinations to maximize coverage of the Middle East. Israel launches to the west over the Mediterranean to avoid overflying its hostile neighbors to the east.
Follow Brian on Twitter: @Berger_SN