Israel launches first environmental research satellite

Israel has successfully launched its first spatial environmental research vehicle designed for orbital monitoring of Earth’s vegetation, the Israel Space Agency (ISA) on 02 August 2017. The Venus satellite (Vegetation and Environment Monitoring New Micro-Satellite) is an earth-observation micro-satellite designed jointly by Israel’s agency and France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

Venus has a dual mission: one scientific and the other technological. The scientific mission will monitor Earth’s vegetation using a camera capable of recording 12 narrow spectral bands. The technological mission will test the operation of an innovative electric propulsion system based on the Israeli-designed Hall Effect Thrusters.

A Hall-effect thruster (HET) is a relatively low power device used to propel a spacecraft after entering orbit or farther out into space. It will be inserted into a near polar sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 720 km with a two-day flyover revisiting time.

The microsatellite, which weighed 265 kg on launch, will send high-resolution photos to track climate change and aid efforts to tackle desertification, erosion, and pollution. The first Israeli satellite will also be used for agricultural and environmental research with its innovative electric propulsion system allowing it to navigate more
accurately than other satellites, according to ISA.

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