The Israeli government is to help fund the building of Amos-8, a much-needed communications satellite. Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology & Space confirmed on September 3rd that the new craft would be built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
IAI has previously said that if it did not get the contract its future would be jeopardized.
Amos-8 will be operated by Spacecom, but the operator had previously ordered the satellite from US-based Maxar-owned Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) in March. Spacecom had twice postponed paying its contracted deposit to SS/L for the $112 million satellite. The most recent postponement (in June) saw SS/L permit Spacecom until September 25th to meet its financial commitment.
Amos-8 is needed to replace the temporary Amos-7. Amos-7 is a leased satellite from AsiaSat (formerly known as AsiaSat 8, and has been leased for 4 years by Spacecom). Spacecom lost its Amos-6 satellite in a catastrophic fire and pre-launch explosion in 2016.
The Israeli government had earlier committed to building Amos-8 (with IAI) but there was confusion as to whether Spacecom would operate the craft.
Amos-8 is scheduled to be on station at 4 degree West during 2020.
Spacecom’s share price on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange rose more than 11 per cent on the news.