Israel has launched a new military satellite, security officials said Tuesday.
The Ofek 11 was sent into space from the Palmahim air base, south of Tel Aviv, at 5:30 P.M. as surveillance aircraft patrolled the nearby Mediterrean skies.
Israel prefers to launch its satellites against the Earth’s rotation, toward the sea, and not in an easterly direction as other countries do.
Israel Aerospace Industries will conduct tests to make sure it is working properly once the satellite stabilizes its orbit.
The defense establishment gleans intelligence from about 10 satellites, including Ofek satellites made by IAI, and commercial satellites which produce images for the Israel Defense Forces and other intelligence agencies.
The Israel Defense Forces said that these satellites make about 800 photography sorties annually, filming 64,000 minutes worth of footage each year.
The satellite’s predecessor, Ofek 10, was launched in 2014, and the Ofek 9 was sent up in 2010.
Two weeks ago Israel lost its latest civilian satellite ahead of its launch when the launcher for the AMOS 6 blew up in Florida.
IAI chief executive Yossi Weiss has accused Israel of lacking a long range satellite program.
“The State of Israel isn’t looking at what’s going on around it. It invests smaller sums than what’s happening in the world, and it’s far from where it should be.
We are marching in place,” Weiss said .