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Israel's new spy satellite could see bottles on floor, will track Iran

TEL AVIV Israel believes its newly-orbited Ofeq-7 satellite can track people and weapons in any targeted country, including Iran.

Israeli officials said Ofeq-7 contained a reconnaissance platform that could spot bottles on the floor. They said the camera payload could identify and send high-resolution images of items as small as 40 centimeters.

Ofeq-7 was launched into low-earth orbit on Monday, Middle East Newsline reported. The satellite, built by the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries for the Defense Ministry, was said to contain enhancements to improve imagery.

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"We have a new camera that is as good as anything available, and that includes the United States," an official said.

In a statement, IAI said Ofeq-7 weighed 300 kilograms and measured 2.3x1.2 meters. The width of the satellite, with a shelf life of four years, was expanded to 3.6 meters with a solar array.

Officials said Ofeq-7 was launched by IAI's Shavit three-stage solid-fuel satellite launch vehicle to an elliptical orbit that ranged from 300 to 600 kilometers in altitude.

"Following separation from the launcher, the satellite performed a series of autonomous activities, including deployment of the solar panels," IAI said. "The satellite and its subsystems' performance including the imaging capabilities will be tested over the next few days."

Ofeq-7 joins Ofeq-5, launched in 2002 to monitor such Israeli adversaries as Iran and Syria. Officials said the two military spy satellites would be enhanced by the dual-use commercial Eros-A and B satellites, based on the Ofeq design.

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