New Israeli spy satellite ‘not behaving as expected’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel successfully launched a spy satellite into orbit, but said it was not performing as intended.

On Tuesday, the Ofek 11 reconnaissance satellite was launched from the Palmachim Air Base south of Tel Aviv. Ofek means horizon in Hebrew.

The satellite entered its orbit correctly and is circling the Earth every 90 minutes, but is not “behaving as expected,” according to Israel’s Defense Ministry.

“We made contact with the satellite, but it’s not yet clear that all is well,” said Amnon Harari, director of the Defense Ministry’s Space Administration, adding that “this worries us to some extent.”

The satellite was developed and produced by Israel Aerospace Industries and carries a high-resolution telescope nearly  2 1/2 feet high made by Elbit Systems.

The Ofek 10, which is still in operation, was launched in April 2014.

The launch comes two weeks after the civilian Amos 6 civilian satellite was destroyed when the SpaceX rocket it was to ride into space exploded on the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida, during fueling. The loss of the satellite could harm Israel’s space program and some of its commercial projects.

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