This week, Israel launched its first environmental research satellite into space, in a joint venture between the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and its French counterpart, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).
The Venus satellite, which took flight from a launch site in French Guiana, will seek to obtain high-resolution photographs of set locations on Earth in order to monitor environmental issues such as desertification, erosion, pollution and other issues linked to climate change.
Venus, which stands for “Vegetation and Environment Monitoring on a New Micro Satellite”, will revolve around the Earth 29 times in each 48-hour period and repeat exact photo angles, making it possible to note differences in conditions.
Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister, Ofir Akunis, described the launch as “a morning of national pride for us”, underlining: “Venus is another testament to Israel’s vast technological capabilities in all fields, and we are a force of science, technology and space with which the whole world wants to cooperate”.
Israel Aerospace Industries president and CEO Yossi Weiss said that satellites are “the glory of Israeli technology and reflect Israel’s international activities in space and the extraordinary cooperation with Italy and France”.
Venus is the smallest satellite of its kind in the world, with all of its hardware components developed in Israel’s space industries.
Israel launched its first satellite programme in 1988, becoming one of only a few nations in the world with an indigenous space launching capability.