Spacecom, the Israeli operator of the Amos fleet of satellites, is reportedly close to starting a procurement process for a new satellite, likely to be called Amos-8.
Spacecom has had a tough couple of years. First, it lost Amos-6 on Sept 1st 2016 when the satellite was lost during a ground-based static engine test on a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral.
On December 1st 2016 it emerged that Spacecom had rented AsiaSat-8 from its Hong Kong-based owners for a period likely to be about 4 years as a replacement for the lost satellite. AsiaSat-8 was placed at 4 degrees West. The annual cost to Spacecom for the leased AsiaSat craft is about $22 million a year.
However, the catastrophic loss scuppered the sale of Spacecom to a Chinese consortium (Beijing Xinwei). Spacecom remains controlled (64 per cent) by Eurocom Holdings with Bezeq Israeli Telecoms, and both were controlled by Shaul Elovitch. Elovitch, with others, has been allegedly accused of corruption in Israel, on February 26th stepped down from the Bezeq board of directors.
The new satellite about to be procured will go to 4 deg West, and should launch towards the end of 2020. Ahead of the launch of Amos-8 Spacecom also has Amos-17 in construction for a launch next year.