Star Wars: Israel Charts Ambitious Space Plans
Where No Jew Has Gone Before.. Except, we have.
Israel, already a leader in space technologies is looking to raise its profile in the space game. At stake? Military supremacy in the new century and a boatload of cash.
Activity this past week focused on a high profile meeting between Israel’s space agency head and Mr. Bolden (of recent Muslims in Space, Obama shenanigan fame) over at NASA.
Apparently good things come in small packages (who knew?), and when it comes to satellites Israel packs them in pretty tight. NASA has expressed interest in this miniaturization technology, and Israeli developed radars that can pierce the atmosphere for mapping Venus.
The minister said the conversation mainly focused on NASA’s interest in Israeli technological developments. “We’re going for grandiose collaborations in areas NASA needs us. There are talks about collaboration in at least three areas where Israel is a leading force in the world of space.”
According to Hershkowitz, the US agency showed interest in Israel’s ability to create light satellites which weigh a fifth of American and European satellites while having the same capabilities. Light satellites can be launched from aircrafts and not only from ballistic missiles.
Another Israeli specialty that caught NASA’s attention is hyperspectral cameras which can detect land, air and sea pollution from space and classify types of soils and minerals. The two also discussed Israeli developments in the field of satellite antennas aimed at analyzing photos using radars. NASA is planning to map out Venus, and Israeli technology could help it see through the planet’s layer of clouds. [...]
An agreement of ‘future intent’ has now been been struck with NASA, complete with fancy space words. Impressive!
Israel is currently one of only 8 countries capable of putting sats into orbit, and has done so on numerous occasions.
Even sexier, because of Israel’s generally hostile eastern borders Israel launches its satellite rockets opposite the earth’s rotation. A mean feat designed to prevent boosters & technologies falling into enemy hands. This counter rotation launch has necessitated the miniaturization Israel now excels at, putting satellites into lower earth orbits.
Paging Ahmadinejad – Please call your office.
Israel’s advanced home built 3 stage solid fuel Shavit-2 launcher, is now rumored to be capable of 800KG payloads.
That kind of ‘Big Boy’ payload can deliver a lot of thermonuclear juice boxes. It is based on Israel’s multi-stage Jericho ballistic missiles, but those payloads also open Israel up to new markets. The most recent Shavit launch was in late June, the Ofek 9 military satellite.
TEL AVIV – Israel delivered its latest spy satellite into low Earth orbit on June 22, using an improved version of its indigenous Shavit launcher, defense sources here said.
An official Ministry of Defense (MoD) notice of the launch, which took place about 10 p.m., was expected by midnight, once technicians ascertained that the satellite appeared to be functioning. [...]
The Price is Right
Offek and this miniaturization spell commercialization. Which while not entirely related to the NASA news above, is part of the this week’s space focus.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to approve an ambitious plan to turn Israel into a satellite superpower. According to details obtained by The Jerusalem Post, the aim is to increase sales of Israeli space platforms to nearly $8 billion a year.
The multi-year plan calls for the government to annually increase support for space research and development by several hundred million shekels. This investment would focus on new platforms – primarily Israel’s niche market in “mini satellites” – intended to yield billions in sales. [...]
Israel’s specialty, Eshed said, lies in manufacturing “mini satellites” like the recently launched Ofek 9. These weigh just a few hundred kilograms, in contrast to the mammoth satellites of several tons operated by the United States and Russia.
Despite Israel’s advanced technology, sales of its space platforms over the last 20 years have totaled less than $2.5b. Yet the international space market, Eshed stressed, is $250b. a year, and Israel could carve out at least 5% for itself. [...]
The combination of exciting NASA cooperation, and new commercial markets could have important benefits for Israel economically.
Feed naturally into defense applications, move Israel further into the realm of nanotechnology and open new avenues with technological and commercial partners. All the while solidifying our alliance with our favorite ally America well into the new century.
Jews are already in space, we’re just reaching higher.
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