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August 1, 2017 12:04 pm

Israel Launching Two New Satellites Into Space Simultaneously

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Venus, a French-Israeli environmental research satellite. Photo: YouTube screenshot. – Israel is set to simultaneously launch two new satellites into space for the first time.

Early on Wednesday, the Israel Space Agency (ISA) will launch the two satellites on the Vega launcher in French New Guinea. The satellites are the OptSat 3000 spy satellite, acquired by Italy’s Ministry of Defense, and Israel’s first environmental research satellite, Venus.

Venus, which stands for “Vegetation and Environment Monitoring on a New Micro Satellite,” is a flagship satellite project between the ISA and the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales.

Prof. Arnon Karnieli, head of the Remote Sensing Laboratory at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in Sde Boker, Israel, is Venus’s principal investigator and will use the satellite to conduct agricultural and ecological research with his French counterpart, Dr. Gerard Dedieu of the Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère.

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“Israel is renowned the world over for its courage and innovation, elements which are expressed in the technological development of Venus well,” said Israel’s Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis.

This week’s launch will be the first instance in which two Israeli satellites are sent into space simultaneously, other than concurrent launches of microscopic nanosatellites.

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