That a satellite operator should buy a new craft from a satellite manufacturer is hardly news. However, when it is Israel’s Spacecom, which is reportedly considering buying its next craft from Space Systems/Loral, then it is more important news.
Israel’s state-owned manufacturer (Israel Aerospace Industries, IAI) is still a possible supplier, say reports. However, it is in contention only because of severe local cost-cutting, and SS/L is still a cheaper satellite.
Spacecom operates the Amos fleet of satellites and reports suggest that there’s a high probability that its next craft, Amos-6, will be supplied by Space Systems/Loral. The order is important – and pressing – because Spacecom already has an option on the craft’s launch with Elon Musk’s SpaceX operation and its Falcon 9 rocket. Launch is pencilled in for 2015 and satellites can easily take 24-36 months to build.
Failure to win the Spacecom contract could lead to the demise of IAI, say reports in trade mag Space News. IAI is seeking Israel government help to fund the project.