Arianespace launching two IAI-built satellites


OPTSAT-3000 is for the Italian Ministry of Defense, while Venμs is an earth observation and exploratory mission of the Israel Space Agency and France's CNES.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), at 04:58:33 Israel time, at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, Arianespace is due to launch two satellites built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), using its Vega launcher.

The first satellite to be released will be the OPTSAT-3000, an Earth observation program for the Italian Ministry of Defense. It comprises a high-resolution optical satellite and a ground segment for in-orbit control, mission planning and the acquisition and processing of images.

OPTSAT-3000 will allow national defense entities to acquire and use high-resolution images from any part of the globe.

The OPTSAT-3000 system is supplied by the prime contractor Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%). The satellite and ground control systems were built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), chosen by the Italian Ministry of Defense on the basis of an inter-governmental agreement between Italy and Israel. OHB Italia is responsible for the launch services and related engineering support.

The second satellite, for which IAI is the prime contractor, is Venμs, an earth observation and exploratory mission of the Israel Space Agency (ISA), a government body sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology - and the French CNES space agency (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales).

This satellite has a twofold objective:

1. Scientific: Frequent revisits (up to two days) of scientific sites spread worldwide for the study and evolution of vegetation, and for environmental purposes.

2. Technological: In-flight qualification of the Israeli Electrical Propulsion System.

The name of the satellite is an acronym standing for Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro Satellite.

Venμs is equipped with a multi-spectral camera that can capture important details, some of them are not visible to the human eye. The camera operates in 12 wavelengths that work simultaneously. It takes 12 simultaneous images of the same location - each in different spectral bands, including those in the near-infrared range. These separate images are processed into one very precise complete color photograph.

The satellite will image vast areas around the globe and provide dozens of images every day, each of them covering approximately 760 square kilometers. Venμs will fly in a Sun-synchronous, near-polar orbit - which enables its return to view each area around the world, exactly at the same time and under the same imagery conditions.

By analyzing and comparing the images taken from the same location, researchers will be able to assess the state of the soil, understand how vegetation is developing, and detect the spreading of disease or contamination in the field.

The technological payload of Venμs comprises a unique electric propulsion system, which is based on Hall-Effect thrusters. Such an electrical propulsion system allows for minimizing the mass of hydrazine chemical propellant while achieving flexible orbital maneuvers that can be affected online

The satellite will be operated from four ground facilities located in Tel Aviv and Haifa in Israel, as well as from Toulouse in France and Kiruna in Sweden.

Both the Venμs and OPTSAT-3000 satellites to be launched on Flight VV10 were built by IAI on the basis of the IMPS Bus platform.

These are the third and fourth satellites from IAI to be launched by Arianespace, following Amos 1 (May 1996) and Amos 2 (December 2003, orbited via Arianespace’s Starsem affiliate).

Information courtesy of Arianespace.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on August 1, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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