Reconnaissance satellite of the new generation "OFEK-16" successfully launched into space and placed into orbit from the base "Palmachim" in the center of Israel on Monday morning, reported the press service of the defense Ministry of the country.

"Today at 4.00 Israeli defense Ministry and Israeli concern aviation industry IAI successfully launched into space the spy satellite, "OFEK-16". The launch was performed from the spaceport in the center of Israel using the launcher the "Shavit", – reads the statement of the press service of the Ministry of defence.

With the launch of the satellite on the basis of "Palmachim" in the center of the country watched the military experts and scientists. At the time of launch and prepare for all flights over Central regions of Israel were transferred to the Northern routes.

"the Launch was made extremely well, the satellite was placed into orbit. Now the spacecraft performs its mission in orbit, and we have been able to get a strong enough signal in the ground control center IAI, which suggests that the satellite operates in accordance with the plan," said Brigadier-General Shlomi Sudri at a press conference for foreign journalists. According to him, the first pictures from the satellite will be received in about a week.

"OFEK-16" will work together with other spacecraft launched by Israel earlier. The Israeli defense Minister benny Gantz called the launch an outstanding achievement for the Israeli defense industry.

"the Successful launch of the satellite "OFEK-16" – another outstanding achievement of the Israeli defense industry in General and the Israeli aerospace industry in particular. Technological superiority and intelligence capabilities necessary to ensure the safety of the state of Israel. The fact that Israel is one of 13 countries in the world with the capabilities of the launch satellites is not taken for granted and this was made possible thanks to the people who invested in these systems and promote these opportunities for many years," the statement quoted head of the defense Ministry’s press service.

"OFEK-16" – electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced features. During the initial period of operation, the satellite will be scheduled a series of tests to determine his fitness and performance level.

The Israeli satellite program has been operating for over 30 years. Previous spy satellite, "OFEK-11" was put into operation in 2016. The first Israeli satellite "OFEK-1" was launched in 1988. Israel was the seventh country in the world that orbited its own spacecraft, and today is one of 13 countries in the world with such capabilities, along with Russia, USA, Italy, France, Japan, India,��liabraries, Ukraine, China, Iran, North and South Korea.