Daniel In Space

Scientists surrounding the imagery satellite For years, executives at “Elbit” Company dreamt of developing an independent space laboratory, which finally came to fruition this year. Please meet “Daniel”

Tal Michael

In the heart of the industry center in Ness Ziona, amongst many of the companies that are mentioned daily in the newspapers, “Elbit” Co. unveiled its “star”: A space and optical lab that is one of the advanced of its kind in the world.

“Daniel” was the name chosen for the said laboratory, completing three years of treacherous work at an approximate cost of tens of millions of Shekels. The lab is expected to serve “Elop”, an “Elbit” subsidiary, to assist in the development of advanced photography systems for the aerial industry’s satellites.

“In the new lab we’re assembling the cameras that will be sent in the future to space and will be placed on Israeli image-satellites”, explained Ilan Porath, Vice President and manager of the Space Domain in the company. “Along with technological advances comes the need to improve the resolution of the cameras and return with better results. The cameras we’re working on today have doubled the resolution and significantly more advanced systems than the existing ones”.

As a result of ever-changing threats, the State of Israel is forced to launch its satellites westward in defiance to physical logic. The launch westward causes the systems to expend a larger amount of energy and to oppose the turning direction of planet Earth. From here on arrives the simple equation: The more energy spent on launching, the less energy is left for the satellite to carry systems.

“If you look at the systems developed in the U.S and France”, said Porath, “you’ll see that their satellites weigh five times more than ours and bring in the same results. For example, we’ve successfully minimized an eight-meter-long satellite to one that is only a meter and a half in length”.

One of the points of interest in the lab is a system shaped like a giant metal tube that is located in a side room. “It’s a vacuum cell to simulate the circumstances up in space”, explained Porath. “We put the cameras in and screen the image as it would be seen in high altitudes. All so we can test the way the satellites function in the temperature and air pressure that exist in space”.