On June 13, 2023, a new Israeli satellite named Runner 1 was launched from the Vandenberg U.S. Space Force Base in California. The satellite, which was launched aboard a rocket by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, weighs less than 90 kg (200 lbs). This marks the beginning of an exceptional project led by Chile and the Israeli satellite company ISI (ImageSat) from Or Yehuda, which is controlled by the FIMI fund.
The Runner 1 satellite is part of a constellation of mini-satellites that will provide high-resolution imagery in both color and video, as well as data analysis for various civilian purposes. The project aims to support tasks such as weather forecasting, disaster management, urban planning, agriculture, environmental monitoring, and more.
The Runner 1 satellite is equipped with an advanced camera that can capture images with a resolution of up to 0.5 meters per pixel, as well as a video camera that can record clips of up to 90 seconds. The satellite also has a high-speed communication system that allows it to transmit the images and data to the ground stations in real time.
ISI is a global leader in satellite imaging
ISI (ImageSat) is one of the leading companies in the field of satellite imaging and data analysis. The company was founded in 1997 and has since launched several satellites, such as the EROS A and B, which are still operational today. ISI is known for its “before/after” satellite images that appear following natural disasters or after Israeli Air Force strikes.
ISI is one of only four civilian companies worldwide with the capability to provide particularly high-quality satellite reconnaissance. Two of them, the American Maxar and the European Airbus, are its direct competitors. The latest addition to this list is China’s CGST.
ISI’s satellites have a competitive advantage over its rivals, as they are smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more agile. They can also operate in lower orbits, which enables them to capture sharper images and cover larger areas. Moreover, ISI’s satellites have a unique feature that allows them to tilt their cameras up to 45 degrees from their nadir point, which means they can take images of targets that are not directly below them.
Chile is investing in space technology for social development
Chile, with its 20 million residents, is considered one of the fastest developing countries in South America and boasts some of the world’s most advanced communication infrastructures. It was among the first to roll out 5G networks, and optical fibers reach over 90% of its population.
Chile is also investing in space technology as a means of social development and economic growth. The country has a strategic location for astronomical observations, as it hosts some of the largest and most powerful telescopes in the world. Chile also has a long history of cooperation with Israel in the field of space exploration and research.
The Runner project is part of Chile’s national space program, which aims to develop its own capabilities in satellite design, manufacturing, operation, and application. The project involves several Chilean institutions, such as the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT), the University of Chile, and the Chilean Air Force.
The Runner project will provide Chile with access to high-quality satellite imagery and data that will help it address various challenges and opportunities in areas such as agriculture, water resources, urban planning, environmental protection, disaster response, education, and culture.