Sunday, April 30, 2006

Eros B photographs Iran nuke facility

Arieh Egozi, YNet:
Israel’s Earth Remote Observation Satellite, Eros B, started sending high-quality snapshots of various sites through the world to its earth station, with a focus on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Israel's leading daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday. READ MORE

“This baby in space has incredible abilities, and it was born just in time,” said an intelligence expert of the satellite Saturday.

Eros B was successfully launched into orbit last week from a location in Siberia by a Russian launcher. On Friday, after running comprehensive checks on the spacecraft’s equipment, the Aircraft Industries station in Yahud gave Eros B its first task, and the very high-resolution camera, built by Elbit Systems Electro-Optics (ELOP) Ltd. to distinguish artifacts smaller than one meter on the ground, began taking pictures.

The satellite was directed to take snapshots at various hours during the day to analyze the quality of it imaging. According to Shimon Eckhaus, CEO of ImageSat International N.V. which owns the satellite, the images sent thus far were of superior quality. “We can offer our clients excellent quality pictures,” Eckhaus said.

ImageSat, owned by Israel Aircraft Industries of Elbit Systems and foreign investors, is operated from the islands of The Netherlands Antilles and has offices in Cyprus and Israel as well. The multiple sites of the offices allow potential clients who don’t want to come to Israel buy the satellite’s services as well.

The Israel Aircraft Industries’ space division manufactured the satellite extremely quickly after the Ofek 6 satellite launch failed. “We made it and sent it to space in 21 months,” Yitzhak Nissan, CEO of IAI, boasted Saturday. “This puts us in an exclusive elite of space companies.”

Israel’s security establishment is one of ImageSat’s top clients, especially since Israel operates only one relatively old spy satellite, the Ofek 5.