The Israel Space Agency and French space agency Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) have signed a cooperation agreement for the Venus Vegetation and Environment Monitoring New Microsatellite program. Israel Space Agency director general Dr. Zvi Kaplan told “Globes”, “The Venus program is a turning point for Israel’s space industry. It is a key milestone in the Israel Space Agency’s strategic plan.”
Kaplan said the joint development and launch of the Venus satellite by the Israeli and French space agencies and the creation of the necessary infrastructures for processing and distributing the pictures to a selected community of users worldwide, represented a new scale of activities never before undertaken in Israel.
Israeli government and industrial enterprises are participating in the Venus program. The unique satellite program is the first of its kind in Israel, both in terms of its large financial investment amounting to NIS 200 million, and its scientific and technological innovations inherent in its goals. In addition, the Venus program’s future commercial potential, which lies in demonstrating the capabilities of Israel’s space industry to the world’s most advanced and competitive markets, is also significant.
Kaplan added, “This is the fist collaborative effort of its kind between CNES and the Israel Space Agency, which will help open Europe to Israel’s space industry. The Venus program is based on a satellite launcher developed over many years in Israel, and includes technology with the best cost and weight ratio to payload performance available.”
The CNES and Israel Space Agency work plan calls for the Venus microsatellite to conduct observations to deepen knowledge about the quality of water, air, and land sources.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on January 25, 2006