Tim Furniss/LONDON

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) has formalised an agreement with Coleman Research in the USA to develop a commercial version of the Shavit launcher.

The new booster, called the LK-1, will operate from Spaceport Florida's Cape Canaveral site or from Wallops Island, Virginia.

The LK-1 will be proposed to NASA as a booster for the Small Expendable Launch Vehicle Services multi-launch procurement. It will be able to place about 200kg into low Earth orbit.

The first two stages of the Shavit will be loaded with solid propellant by Cordant Technologies, formerly Thiokol, which will also provide a Star third stage motor to replace Israel's AUS-51. The changes ensure that more than 51% of the LK-1 will be US built, which satisfies the US Government's conditions for the deal.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has granted Israel 25% of the funding to begin development of the $10 million, 180kg David agricultural and ecological satellite. The David will be built and launched by a consortium of El-Op Electro Electronics and two German companies, OHB Systems and GAF. Launch will be with a national Shavit booster from Palmachin AFB, near Tel Aviv.

El-Op will produce the high-resolution space camera, with 12 multispectral imaging channels. The equipment is thought to be a derivative of a system aboard the Ofeq 3 prototype spy satellite launched in 1995.

It is also based on the Israel Tauvex space telescope under development for a possible flight on a Russian science satellite. OHB will be responsible for the design, launch and operation of the craft, while GAF will process and distribute the images.

Source: Flight International