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Israel launches new reconnaissance satellite

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launched a new reconnaissance satellite into space Wednesday night which can observe targets on earth "in all weather conditions".

The satellite, called Ofek 10, was carried into space by a Shavit (comet) type launcher, Xinhua quoted the Israeli defence ministry as saying.

"Once the satellite enters orbit around the Earth, it will undergo several tests to confirm its serviceability and accurate performance," it said.

Ofek 10 is an earth-observing remote-sensing satellite that employs synthetic aperture radar technology with advanced "high- resolution" imagery, "capable of operating day or night and in all weather conditions", the ministry added.

Israel's defence ministry cooperated with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and other Israeli high-tech companies in the development and production of Ofek 10 and the Shavit satellite launcher.

The launch, according to Israeli media, was jointly carried out by the ministry and the IAI at the Palmahim air base in central Israel.

Israel maintains an extensive spy satellite programme and invests hundreds of millions of shekels a year in space development and satellite industry.

Ofek 10 is the tenth Israeli satellite launched into space, four years after the similar Ofek 9 was launched. The first of this series, Ofek 1, went into space in 1988.

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