The sale of the Israeli commercial satellite communications company Spacecom to Chinese telecommunications company Beijing Xinwei Technology Group is now in jeopardy after Spacecom’s Amos-6 communications satellite was destroyed when a static engine test of a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket went wrong at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, United States, on 1 September 2016.
The Amos-6 satellite was due to be launched from Florida on the SpaceX Falcon-9 on Saturday, 3 September 2016. Once Amos-6 was successfully launched, it would have triggered the sale of Spacecom to Beijing Xinwei Technology Group for U.S.$285 million. With the destruction of Amos-6 the future of Spacecom is uncertain, and shares in the company fell by nine per-cent on the Tel Aviv stock exchange when news of the accident was announced.
The accident took place at Complex 40 of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a static fire test of the Falcon-9 engines. The test was supposed to be a normal part of SpaceX’s pre-launch procedures, but an anomaly caused the rocket to explode taking the Amos-6 payload with it. At the time of writing this report SpaceX were still investigating the cause of the static fire test failure.
This Falcon-9 failure will likely have a severe impact on the global commercial satellite communications market as the Falcon-9 rocket was booked to launch at least eight satellites, not including Amos-6, through the end of 2016. With the 1 September 2016 accident, these launches shall now have to be postponed until the cause of the static fire test failure is identified and then fixed.
Among the other companies impacted by the Falcon-9 accident are SES, Iridium, KT Corporation, and Echostar.
As this report was filed there was no comment from Spacecom or from Beijing Xinwei Technology Group on the likely commercial consequences of the Falcon-9 accident.