Israel has successfully launched into space its first academic nanosatellite, along with 104 other international nanosatellites, in India this week, as part of a world record for the number of satellites put into orbit on a single rocket.
The satellite, which measures 4x4x12 inches and weighs only 11 pounds, was the result of a five-year joint project between Ben Gurion University (BGU), Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd (IAI) and Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.
The nanosatellite’s unique orbital path close to Earth’s atmosphere will conduct scientific missions for the university and will enable researchers to study weather phenomena, desertification, and the Earth’s airglow layer.
Outfitted with state-of-the-art cameras, researchers will be able to position the nanosatellite to take a variety of photographs to track atmospheric gases in order to better understand climate change and other fluctuations in the Earth’s environment.
This is the first time any Israeli university will have access to data from an Israeli nanosatellite for research purposes.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Space Division Head Ofer Doron said: “We are proud to be part of an innovative technological project, which opens up the world of nanosatellites to new and varied scientific missions”.
He continued: “The nanosatellite is part of a series of educational and academic activities that we at IAI, as the national space division of Israel, consider an integral part of the Israeli space industry and are happy to lead”.
Israeli Science Minister Ofir Akunis said: “This is another step in advancing cooperation between the government, industry and academia in order to promote the Israeli space industry. Only such collaboration with government backing will preserve the Israeli space industry’s global standing and will promote research and create new jobs, all while safeguarding the essential interests of Israel”.