Israeli satellite starts Russian ride

by Chris Bergin

A Russian Start-1 launch vehicle has lifted off at 5:47pm UK time from the Svobodny cosmodrome, carrying the Israeli EROS-B1 satellite into a 600 km sun-synchronous orbit.

The Spy/Imaging satellite was originally planned to be a constellation of four EROS-B’s – which has since been reduced to the single satellite. The EROS A1 has been in orbit since the 5th of December, 2000.

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‘The rocket, transformed from a Topol intercontinental ballistic solid-fuel missile, started off from a mobile launcher at 8:47 p.m. Moscow time,’ Space Forces spokesman Col. Alexei Kuznetsov told Itar-Tass.

According to Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. EROS B1 will be one of the world’s most advanced, smallest and most agile, commercial high-resolution reconnaissance satellites.

In 2001, Israel Aircraft Industries’ Space Division was awarded a contract to develop and produce the EROS B1 satellite from ImageSat International N.V.

This is the second in the series of EROS (Earth Resources Observation Satellite) satellites developed and manufactured for ImageSat by IAI/ Space Division. The contract also covers adaptation of the existing ground control and tracking stations.

The EROS A satellite, the first in the series, was successfully placed in orbit in December 2000 on a Russian Start-1 launcher and continues to be operated by ImageSat, which provides services to its customers worldwide.


The launch vehicle used today – the multipurpose transportable Start-1 Space Launch System – is used to inject of a small spacecraft into low earth orbits.

The solid-propellant Start-1 LV was developed in the early 1990s under conversion of rocket technologies by a group of Russian enterprises leaded by Scientific and Technological Center ‘Complex-MIHT’.

The Launch Vehicle and its systems, as well as ground launch equipment and processing equipment were developed using elements, components and technologies for missile systems with the SS-25 ICBM, which ensure their high reliability.
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