A few years ago the official name of the Israeli Air Force was modified and became the Israeli Air and Space Force. This was not just a semantic change. It reflected the new frontier that Israel is using to defend itself from emerging threats. While Iran is galloping towards the production of a nuclear bomb – taking advantage of the total misunderstanding of the U.S and the European countries about the situation – Israel is making big strides to be more ready and space is the new area of activity.
Israeli is a already a space power. Launchers, satellites and ground stations are developed and manufactured mostly for Israeli needs, but now this advanced technology is offered to other nations that see the importance of space for their security. Some of the Israeli systems are highly classified but others are enough to demonstrate the efforts and the achievements of the country’s space industry.
The most recent addition to the versatile list of products developed in Israel is a new concept for communications by introducing the MCS – a Mini Communication Satellite. According to IAI, the country’s main space company, the MCS is an advanced communication satellite weighing roughly 700 kg upon its launch and includes a complete digital communication payload weighing up to 200 kg. This is in comparison with a full size communication satellite with an average weight of 5,000 kg.
IAI says that due to its light weight, the satellite can be launched in a rideshare arrangement with other satellites, greatly lowering launch costs. In addition, it has a life expectancy of no less than 14 years and is specifically designed to provide multi-zone communication services to customers or countries with diverse communication needs.
The MCS uses an electrical propulsion system, developed specifically for this low weight satellite. It has been developed based on 30 years of IAI’s experience with various satellites and on the capabilities developed initially for Dror 1, Israel’s next generation space communications platform.