Israel shows concern over satellite system weaknesses

Israel shows concern over satellite system weaknesses
Israel's most recent satellite, the Ofek 11, launched into space successfully but suffered system failures, following the Amos-6 satellite explosion earlier this month.
2 min read
14 September, 2016
An earlier model of Ofek-11 was launched in 2007 [Getty]

Israel's ministry of defence is investigating system faults in a new spy satellite it launched on Tuesday.

Ofek 11 launched into space from the Palmahim air base, near Tel Aviv, at 17:30 on Tuesday, however, concerns were raised almost immediately that the satellite's systems were not working.

Officials at the ministry told Israel's Channel 2 that "some of the systems and devices on Ofek 11 do not function as they should".

Israel currently gathers information from ten satellites which it uses for espionage purposes, including other Ofek satellites made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and various commercial satellites.

Ofer Doron, head of IAI's MBT Space Division, told Haaretz  Israel daily that they are working on fixing the issue.

"There are a few matters that don't seem routine, but the process of diagnosing the satellite's situation is continuing," he said.  

Israel most recently suffered upset over its satellite programme on 1 September, when its Amos-6 civilian satellite caught fire, during its launch on a Space-X mission in Florida.

The AMOS-6 satellite, which cost $175 million, had been ear-marked for use by various agencies, including Facebook and NASA.

Spokespersons for the Space Division told the Israeli Knesset, Sunday, that Israel will suffer for a dearth of communication satellites in coming years due to the loss of the Amos-6 satellite.