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Israel launches its first environmental research satellite
Life in Israel
Israel launches its first environmental research satellite

The first Israeli satellite for environmental research was launched on August 1 from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite is a joint effort by the Israel Space Agency, under the aegis of the Science and Technology Ministry, and the French Space Agency (CNES) and was built in Israel by Israel Aerospace Industries.

It is considered the smallest satellite of its kind in the world, and is built to survey and monitor large areas to study soil, vegetation, forests, agriculture, water and air quality and other aspects of the environment.

The satellite, which weighs only 265 kilograms and was launched on a Vega platform, was dubbed Venus, an acrostic that stands for Vegetation and Environment Monitoring on a New (µ) Micro-Satellite. The satellite is meant to remain in operation for four and a half years, after which it will be diverted to a lower orbit.

Environmental research satellites have gained importance in recent years given the problems the planet faces in population overcrowding, decreasing areas for agriculture, pollution and natural disasters, and within four years some 300 such satellites are expected to be in orbit.

When Venus passes over Israel, it will capture three geographical strips – in the Galilee; the coastal plain, including the strip of Mediterranean Sea along the coast; and the Negev. It will take in most of Israel’s national parks and nature reserves, forests and ecological stations. The pictures will be available to university and government researchers and government agencies.

Click here to read the full article in Ha’aretz

Thursday, August 24, 2017
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