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Jan. 26, 2005 21:25

Israel to launch two military satellites



Israel will launch two military satellites in the near future, according to a military publication.


The soldiers' weekly "Bamahane" reported in its current edition that the launch of the two satellites has been brought forward because of the failure of the "Ofek 6" to attain orbit in September.


"Ofek 6" was a sophisticated spy satellite designed to replace older models that were about to re-enter the atmosphere, but it plunged into the Mediterranean in an unsuccessful launch attempt on Sept. 6.


The weekly said the two satellites, called TESCAR and Ofek 7, developed by military industries, are to be launched in the near future. The report indicated that TESCAR would be launched first, but it gave no specific dates.


The report said the TESCAR satellite represents a "technological breakththrough and will expand the capabilities" of Israel's satellite program. It gave no details.

Earlier Israeli spy satellites have overflown Syria, Iran and Iraq.


Experts said the Ofek-6 was designed to enhance intelligence-gathering capabilities over those countries - especially Iran, suspected of developing a nuclear weapons capability.

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