Israel receives first images from advanced Ofek 16 spy satellite

One week after the successful launch of the Ofek 16 spy satellite into space, the engineering team has operated the satellite’s observation camera for the first time.

The high-quality images were received overnight, at an Israel Aerospace Industries control station in the city of Yehud in central Israel.

Since the launch last Monday, systems and subsystems were activated gradually. Upon completion of the process, the satellite’s camera was also activated successfully. In the coming weeks, engineering teams will complete the tests and prepare the satellite for operational use.

“This is the most significant milestone since the launch of the Ofek 16 satellite. The images we received from the satellite are of excellent quality. We will continue the orderly process of transferring the satellite to operational use, anticipating that over the years, the system will provide great intelligence to the defense establishment,” Amnon Harari, Head of the Space and Satellite Administration in the Israel Ministry of Defense said.

“Ofek (horizon) 16” is an electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities. A Shavit launch vehicle lifted the satellite to orbit on July 6th from the Palmachim airbase.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the launch an “extraordinary achievement.”

“Technological superiority and intelligence capabilities are essential to the security of the state of Israel,” he said.