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. Israel Launches New Spy Satellite

The OFEK 7 Satellite Launch on a Shavit rocket from the Palmahim base south of Tel Aviv.
by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) June 11, 2007
Israel successfully launched a new satellite on Monday, the defence ministry announced, with the device reportedly capable of spying on arch-foe Iran. "The overnight launching increases Israeli defensive capacities and is evidence of Israel's technological power," the ministry said in a statement. The 300-kilogram (660-pound) Ofek-7 (Horizon-7) satellite developed by Israel Aircraft Industries was launched on a Shavit rocket from the Palmahim base south of Tel Aviv.

"It adds to the Ofek-5 satellite launched in 2002 and assures a better surveillance of far-away countries, including Iran," a military source told public radio.

The source said that the quality of the images received from the satellite will not be able to be verified for another three days.

Israel considers Iran its arch-foe due to repeated calls by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.

Widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, Israel along with the West believes Iran's nuclear programme is a cover for developing atomic weapons, a charge that Tehran denies.

In April 2006, Israel launched another satellite, the D3 Eros B1, which is also reportedly capable of spying on Iran's nuclear activities.

An attempt to launch an Ofek-6 satellite three years ago was not successful, with the satellite crashing into the Mediterranean Sea after a technical malfunction with the launcher.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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The latest in a whole series of reports by NASA's scientific advisory groups on how to explore Mars has just been released ("An Astrobiology Strategy for the Exploration of Mars", written by a committee assembled by NASA a year ago) has just been released by the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council.

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