Since the launch of OFEQ 1 (Horizon) Satellite on 19 September 1988, Israel had been one of a small group of countries with the ability to build and launch its own satellites. Israel has three main space satellite families—EROS, AMOS, and OFEQ—to serve its military and communication needs. The EROS (Earth remote observation system; see EROS-B) family provides remote-sensing and dual-use technology for both the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and commercial enterprises. EROS-A1 offers one-meter resolution for military and business. AMOS (Afro-Mediterranean orbiting system) satellites provide Israel, Central Europe, and the Middle East with commercial broadcasting and communications services. AMOS-2 was launched in December 2003. The OFEQ family of satellites provides extremely high-resolution imaging that is exclusively for military intelligence interests. OFEQ5, launched in May 2002, is the only OFEQ satellite in orbit because of a malfunction in the rocket that was intended to put the OFEQ6 into orbit in September 2004. OFEQ6 was intended to bolster Israel's abilities to monitor Iran's ballistic missile program and to improve Israel's early-warning systems. Israel has adapted its Jericho ballistic missile technology to launch satellites into orbit. These Shavit rockets are mobile and can place small satellites into low-Earth orbit.
   In addition to the three primary types of satellites, Israel also has a number of cutting-edge space-based technologies. Since July 1998, the Gurwin TechSat II microsatellite has been successfully orbiting the Earth. This platform was designed, built, and launched by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and is one of only a handful of student satellites in existence. TAUVEX, the Tel Aviv University Ultraviolet Explorer, is a major multinational effort that has built a cluster of three ultraviolet space telescopes for use in a Russian space observatory. In 2004, Israel joined the project to build Galileo, the European global navigation satellite system, and is expected to contribute tens of millions of dollars over the course of the effort. On 21 January 2008, Israel launched a new, Israel-made reconnaissance satellite (TECSAR) atop an Indian rocket.
   See also Science.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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