However, this is not the first time both countries have joined hands for collaboration in space technology. Isro and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) had a decade-long mutual cooperation in satellite development and launches.
On January 21, 2008, Israel had preferred India's trusted Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-10) to launch its reconnaissance satellite, TecSAR, instead of using its own indigenous Shavit rocket. Israel had selected India's trusted launch vehicle because of mainly three reasons. Any launch from Israeli territory must be directed westwards (towards the sea) in order to prevent the launcher's first stages from falling on populated areas or foreign territory.
But a westward launch, against the direction of the earth's rotation, seriously restricted the weight of the satellite that the launch vehicle could carry. The second reason was that earlier launches of Israel's Ofeq series of spy satellites from its own soil had put constraints on satellite orbits. Third, Israel wanted to send TecSAR to an orbit (450-580km altitude) which was not possible from its own rocket. As a result, PSLV carried TecSAR (from west to east direction) from the Sriharikota launchpad unlike all surveillance satellites (which were launched towards the west direction) launched from Israel itself. TecSAR was fitted with a large dish-like antenna to transmit and receive radar signals that can penetrate darkness and thickness of clouds.
A year after TecSAR's launch, India launched its reconnaissance satellite RISAT-2 on April 20, 2009. The satellite's main sensor, an X-band synthetic aperture radar, was built by Israel Aerospace Industries. The 300kg satellite possessed day-night as well as all-weather monitoring capability.
Israel was also part of Isro's historic mission on February 15 this year when the Indian space agency's PSLV-C-37 launched 104 satellites in one go. Out of the 104 satellites, three of the nano satellites—BGUSat, DIDO-2 and PEASS—belonged to Israel. While BGUS was solely built by Israel, DIDO-2 and PEASS were developed by Israel in collaboration with other European countries.
Describing Indian space satellite launchers as "reliable", Israel Space Agency director general Avi Blasberger said his country would look to send more satellites aboard Indian launchers in the future.