The Zionist state's new satellite will give it an "Intel Edge" over it's Arab neighbours.
From this article (which is still perpetuating the "wipe Israel off the map" myth, incidentally): "With the Iranian president threatening to wipe Israel off the map, there is growing speculation here that Israel could launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. The defense minister said the satellite improves Israel's strategic capabilities and is a testament to its technological strength."
Israel launches satellite
Israel launched a new spy satellite.
Ofek-7 was launched from an Israeli air base Monday and was due to begin relaying ground images from orbit by the weekend.
According to defense officials, Ofek-7, which is manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, will offer high-resolution photographs of the Middle East in almost all weather conditions. The satellite will thus boost Israel's efforts to track the nuclear program of its arch-enemy, Iran.
Ofek-7 will replace Ofek-5 satellite, which was was put into orbit in 2002 and will soon be out of commission. In 2004, Israel tried to launch Ofek-6 but it crashed on takeoff.
From the New York Times:
Israel launched an Ofek-7 spy satellite Monday that is expected to vastly improve its intelligence capabilities, especially with regard to Iran.
The launch took place during the early morning hours and officials said the first images from the craft would be received within 48 to 72 hours, Ynetnews.com reported.
The launch of Ofek-7 follows a failed attempt in October 2004 to launch its predecessor, Ofek-6, which fell into the sea.
"We ran a series of extensive tests, and verified intactness and performance levels so that there wouldn't be any mishaps," a senior security source told Ynetnews.com.
According to that source, the design flaw that led to Ofek-6's failure was corrected for Ofek-7.
Israel's new satellite is expected to orbit the Earth every 90 minutes and should remain in orbit a minimum of four years.
An nctimes.com article reports that:
"Israeli space officials said the Ofek-7 satellite can pick up even small objects from space, and that information will be shared with the United States."
Apparently it's sophisticated and accurate enough to spy on and view the smallest of objects:
"Senior officials from Israel's space program said the satellite will significantly improve Israel's intelligence capabilities, allowing it to view objects as small as an average TV set.
More information on Israel's satellite capability here.