Israeli Spy Satellite Launched
An Israeli spy satellite has been launched by a Russian Start-1 launch vehicle. The launch took place from the Svobodny Cosmodrome in the Amur region of the Russian Far East at 8:47 p.m. Moscow time on 25th April.
The satellite, Eros-B will be able to resolve objects on the ground as small as 70cm and will suppliment a pair of Israeli spy satellites already in operation, Eros A and Ofeq-5.
Eros B is small, lightweight satellite, weighing less than 350kg. It will orbit the earth at an altitude of 500 km, completing an orbit every 95 minutes.
Israel is capable of launching satellites itself but opted to use a Russian launcher instead. Usually satellites ar launched into a west to east orbit. This tales advantage of the earths rotation to aid the launch. Israel, however, has to launch east to west to avoid overflying Arab territory. This greatly rescticts the weight of the payload that the indigenous Shavit booster can place into orbit.
The Russian Start-1 booster is a modified Topol intercontinental ballistic missile, decommissioned from it's original task as a result of the SALT agreement with the USA.
Sources: ITAR-TASS, United Press International, Reuters