Three months following the successful launch of the Ofek 16 satellite into space, the engineering teams of the Space Administration in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), of the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), have completed the satellite’s pre-planned testing process and its preparations for operational use. In a small ceremony held in an IAI control station (in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions), Head of the Space and Satellite Administration in IMoD, Amnon Harrari, IAI EVP and General Manager of the Systems, Missiles and Space Group, Boaz Levy, and IAI Space Division GM, Shlomi Sudri, handed the ‘keys’ of the satellite to the IDF’s 9900 Intelligence Unit.
“Ofek 16” is an electro-optical observation satellite with advanced capabilities. It is equipped with a high-quality camera developed and manufactured by Elbit Systems. Since the satellite launch on July 6th, 2020, the DDR&D, IAI and the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate have conducted a series of pre-planned tests (In Orbit Testing). During this period, the satellite successfully transmitted a number of images, demonstrating its excellent capabilities.
The Space Administration in IMoD has led the development and production of the satellite and its launcher. IAI is the prime contractor, having assigned the program to its Systems, Missiles and Space Group together with the MLM Division, which is responsible for the development of the launcher. Elbit Systems is responsible for the development and production of the satellite's advanced camera and payload. The launch engines were developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Tomer, a government-owned company. Additional companies have participated in the program, including Rokar and Cielo. Lastly, various IDF officials, primarily from the Intelligence Corps and Air Force have also been involved in the satellite development process.