Saturday, July 6, 2013

Israel first satellite

Shavit 2 was the first satellite that Israel launched to space. The rocket launched on July 5th 1961 and Israel joined the distinguished "space club" a very short list of countries who are able to develop, build and launch a satellite by their own means ( in 1961 there were only 6 countries in the "club" : US, USSR, UK, Japan, Italy, France). The rocket itself was a very simple rocket with some instruments for meteorological research. the rocket was very small, but to make it look much bigger it was put on a high stand and photographed from a very low angel to look like one of the big American rockets. In fact its length was just about 4 meter.

Many of Israel VIP attended the historical launch. The prime minister and secretary of defnse, David Ben Gurion, his deputy Shimon Peres (Current presiodent of Israel) , Zvi Zur, Brigadir General and more.

History is funny as the only country to congratulate Israel for its achievement was Turkey. Nor the white house, neither the Kremlin (And the times were the hot days of the cold war) gave any official response.

 Shavit 2
Replica of Shavit 2 actual size: Photographed by: Tal Inbar
Israel ministry of Defense recently relieved the following video. Notice how big the rocket looks in the film (remember that the lower part is just a stand, not a real phase). The video is without sound so the usual roar of the launch is not heard. David Ben Gurion, hearing explanations and you might recognize Peres and Rabin in the film as well. 
The launch was a very important achievement for the new state of Israel only 13 years old.