Spacecom, the Israel-based operator of the Amos fleet of satellites, says it has postponed its $112 million contract with Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) to build its Amos-8 craft.
Spacecom issued the news in a filing with the Tel Aviv stock exchange on May 27th.
The original order was agreed with SS/L on March 25th this year, and the contract included a clause that the deal would void if Spacecom failed to pay its first down payment within 60 days – which expired on May 25th. Spacecom, in its filing, says that it has agreed with SS/L to postpone its first payment for a further 30 days.
Complicating the issue is the position of the Israeli government, which says it is going to work with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a local satellite manufacturer, to place its own satellite into the slot which would have been occupied by Amos-8. The Israeli state officially has rights to the 4 degrees West orbital position, and Amos ‘hot spot’.
The news of Israel’s intention to bypass Spacecom was seen as necessary to keep Israel Aerospace Industries in work. IAI has built 5 of Spacecom’s 7 satellites delivered for launch.
But the overall impact could be severe for Spacecom, especially if the ‘new’ IAI satellite takes business (government and military) that would normally have been contracted with Spacecom.
Amos-8, if the order with SS/L goes ahead, is due for launch in 2020. Spacecom lost Amos-6 in a pre-launch explosion of a SpaceX rocket in 2016.