A fifth satellite from Israeli firm Spacecom was launched into space on Saturday night, joining a collection of other Israeli satellites already circling the globe.
The satellite was launched from Russian-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in the central Asian republic of Kazakhstan.
Israel Aerospace Industries reported Sunday morning that the satellite successfully separated from the rocket and that its systems are operational. It will cruise for two weeks until it positions itself at 67.25°E at the altitude of 36 thousand kilometers.
After operating there for some months, and after a number of tests are run, it will cruise to its commercial operating location 65°E.
"There are very little countries in the world that can boast an achievement like this," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the cabinet meeting on Sunday. "As prime minister of Israel, I and the ministers here too, are proud. It is one of the best pieces of news we received over the past week, there were others as well."
"This is another impressive achievement for Israel Aerospace Industries, Amos 4 is the biggest most advanced satellite ever built in Israel," said Yossi Weiss, CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries. "It will allow Spacecom to expand into new markets, especially in Asia and India."
Amos 4, as it is called, arrived at the Kazakh space center several weeks ago and over the past several days went through the final stages of preparations before the space launch aboard a Zenith-type rocket. The communications satellite will provide broadband broadcast service to Russia, India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. A Russian website published photos of the final preparations, showing the docking of the satellite on the Zenit rocket.
Up to now, Israel had launched four communications satellites into orbit: Amos 1, Israel's first communications satellite, was sent into space in 1996, but within the last several years went out of service. Amos 2 was launched in 2003. It is currently serving clients in the Middle East, Europe and the East Coast of the United States.
In 2008, an additional satellite, Amos 3 was sent into orbit. It was joined in 2011 by Amos 5, which was the first satellite that Spacecom purchased from Russia’s JSC Information Satellite Systems and not from Israel Aerospace Industries.