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Indian satellite to be equipped with Israeli telescope

India and Israel agreed on 25th Dec, to launch in 2005 an Indian satellite equipped with an Israeli-made telescope. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries’ space agencies in Bangalore, the Indian Space Research Organization said in a statement.

Israeli minister for science and technology, Eliezer Sandberg, witnessed the signing. The telescope will help in the study of the formation of stars, the histories of galaxies and the nature of giant black holes, ISRO said. Data from the telescope will be shared by India and Israel. India’s GSAT-4 satellite will carry the telescope to an orbit of nearly 36,000 kilometres from the Earth.

Thursday’s agreement followed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s announcement of the collaboration during his visit to India in September. India and Israel co-operate in a number of areas, including space and defence. In October, India signed a deal worth $1.3 billion Cdn to buy an advanced Israeli airborne radar system called PHALCON, to be fitted on Russian-made surveillance planes.