Venus: First environmental research satellite launched by Israel

Aug 6, 2017 05:09 IST

Venus, the first Israeli satellite for environmental research was launched on 2 August 2017 from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The satellite is a joint effort by the Israel Space Agency and the French Space Agency (CNES). The satellite was built in Israel by the Israel Aerospace Industries.

Venus is considered the smallest satellite of its kind in the world. It is crafted to survey and monitor large areas to study soil, vegetation, forests, agriculture, water and air quality and other aspects of the environment.

Israel launches Venus, first environmental research satellite

Key highlights of Venus

Venus stands for Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New (µ) Micro-Satellite.

It was launched on a Vega platform.

It weighs only 265 kilograms.

The satellite would have taken one hour, 37 minutes and 18 seconds to reach orbit, and two days to reach sun-synchronized orbit at an altitude of 720 kilometers.

The first images captured by the satellite will be received in a week after launching.

The satellite is meant to remain in operation for four and a half years, after which it will be diverted to a lower orbit.

Venus will orbit the earth 29 times in 48 hours.

It will capture dozens of photographs every day, each one covering 730 square kilometres.

The fact that the satellite will be able to take pictures of the same areas once every two days will enable it to monitor many environments, from the atmosphere to the depths of seas.

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Each of its photos is created by 12 different sensors, and on different wave lengths. It means that its each picture is composed of 12 different layers of data.

Due to large number of colours Venus’ camera can capture, which are beyond the range of the human eye, the photographs will be able to show details that cannot be seen on earth with an ordinary camera.

The data provided by the satellite is aimed at policy makers deciding where and what to grow and the information will be available both to agricultural planners and businesses.

When Venus passes over Israel, it will capture three geographical strips: the Galilee; the coastal plain, including the strip of Mediterranean Sea along the coast; and the Negev.

It will capture most of Israel’s national parks and nature reserves, forests and ecological stations. The photographs will be available to university and government researchers and government agencies.

The data collected from the Israeli satellite will be broadcast to a station in northern Sweden and from there for preliminary processing by the French space agency.

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