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August 18, 2015 10:15 am

US and Israel to Cooperate on Preventing Satellite Collisions in Space

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A computer image of Israel's Ofek 10 satellite in orbit. Credit: Israeli Defense Ministry.

Israel and the U.S. will cooperate on tracking and preventing satellite collisions. Photo: Israeli Defense Ministry. – Israel and the U.S. on Monday announced an agreement to cooperate on tracking and preventing collisions between satellites in orbit in outer space.

The agreement was signed between the Israeli Space Administration — which operates under the Defense Ministry —  and U.S. Strategic Command. Israel is joining a comprehensive American initiative bringing together countries that see themselves as responsible for maintaining continuous and safe satellite operations.

Israel’s first satellite, Ofek 1, was launched into orbit in 1988, making the Jewish state the seventh country to achieve full capability to build satellites and launch them into space. There are now 12 such countries, including Israel, the U.S., the U.K., Russia, China, France, Italy, India, South Korea, Japan, Ukraine, and Iran.

Unlike all the other countries, Israel must launch its satellites in a westward direction — against the direction Earth spins — to avoid launching over Arab countries.

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