Israel Developing Nanosatellite Constellation for Missile Defense

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Israel has commissioned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to develop a constellation of nanosatellites (nanosat) for use in missile defense, according to experts unaffiliated with the project. The satellites will likely weigh approximately 5 to 8 kg and will be equipped with imaging technologies capable of detecting a ballistic missile launch and the movement of missile-related materials and equipment. The Israeli nanosat constellation will collect data in high temporal resolution, passing over areas of interest more frequently to provide near continuous monitoring to compensate for the satellites’ reduced spectral and radiometric resolution compared to larger satellites such as the U.S.-flown Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS). On January 1, 2018, the Israeli Space Agency announced that it is developing a prototype constellation of nanosats capable of autonomous flight to be launched at the end of 2018. It is not clear if the two projects are directly affiliated.