Following the SpaceWatch.Global report that Israel’s Spacecom is looking to purchase a new satellite to be called AMOS-8, we can now report that Spacecom has selected U.S. satellite manufacturer Space Systems Loral (SSL), a subsidiary of Maxar Technologies, to build the new satellite, instead of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) as many expected.
After signaling its plans over the past weeks, Spacecom announced Sunday, 25 March 2018, that it has signed an agreement to acquire its new satellite – AMOS-8 – from U.S. company Loral Space & Communications Inc., for U.S.$112 million. To date, SSL has manufactured 270 satellites.
Under the terms of the agreement, SSL will deliver the satellite 27 months after payment of a deposit by Spacecom. SSL will also provide support services for the launch and operation of the satellite during the lifetime of its orbit.
The new satellite will replace AMOS-7 and provide communications satellite services to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. Per the agreement, AMOS-8 will operate for at least 15 years.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch AMOS-8 despite the explosion of its launcher, which destroyed AMOS-6 shortly before it was due to be sent into orbit in September 2016.
Spacecom reported that it had approached several companies about building AMOS-8, including Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., which had previously delivered four satellites to Spacecom at a total price of NIS 2 billion. But, according to a report in Globes, Spacecom CEO David Pollak explained that IAI’s price was uncompetitive and the timetable offered would imperil being able to replace AMOS-7 on time.
Upon hearing the Spacecom announcement about AMOS-8, an unnamed executive at IAI said that, “it may signal the end of Israel’s satellite industry.”