Ben-Gurion International Airport, Israel - "EROS A1", the first commercial satellite developed and manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries, Ltd. (IAI)/MBT Division, transmitted its first digital image from outer space, four (4) days after it had been launched.
The ground control stations at IAI/MBT Division, and the ground control station in Kiruna, Sweden received the image taken with a camera developed by the Israeli Company El-Op.
Mr. Itzhak Nissan, MBT?s General Manager, said today (10.12.2000) that the images clearly showed the landmarks of an unidentified site. ?Following a close check of the image?s details, we are able to define the satellite and its performance as a success, particularly in view of the recent failures of competing satellite programs. Before the launch, we predicted that awaiting period of several weeks would be required to verify that the satellite was functioning properly, but we didn?t have to wait as long as expected. ?EROS A1? will be ready to commence commercial activity in about two weeks?.
According to Mr. Nissan, purchasing images from the satellite will be available in two methods: clients who choose to sign a multi-year agreement, will be able to control and command the camera, allowing them to order photographic images taken at a specific radius from the ground control station. Other customers, define as sporadic customers, will be able to purchase photographic images via the Internet.
The ?EROS A1? satellite cruises in a sun-synchronous polar orbit, at an altitude between 480-520 km. It is powered by the energy absorbed by its solar panels that face the sun.
Mr. Nissan said that orders worth $300 Million have already been lined up for the satellite services. However, the satellite?s full commercial potential had still not yet been fully tapped. ?I anticipate that within the next few days, following the successful launch and the first images, new customers will arrive?.