Amos-17 satellite ready for take-off from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday night

Once operational, Spacecom says Amos-17 will be the most advanced high-throughput satellite to provide communication services to Africa.

By
August 5, 2019 22:21
2 minute read.
Amos-17 satellite ready for take-off from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday night

David Pollack, CEO of Israel's Space Communication Ltd, gestures next to a model of Amos-17 satellite at the company offices in Ramat Gan, Israel July 28, 2019. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

SpaceX will attempt to launch Israeli communication satellite Amos-17 into orbit from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday evening (early Wednesday, Israel time), after a suspected engine fault delayed its take-off.

Communication company Spacecom, the Ramat Gan-based operator of the AMOS or “Affordable Modular Optimized Satellite” series, told the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Monday that the launch had been rescheduled for late Tuesday, pending final authorizations.

The satellite launch was initially scheduled for Sunday evening (local time), but postponed after a "suspect valve" was identified in one of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle's engines.

"As notified by launch company SpaceX after an additional test of the launch site was successfully executed, the launch of the Amos-17 satellite has been scheduled for the early morning (Israel time) of August 7, 2019, subject to final approval from launch site authorities," the company said.

Once operational, Spacecom says Amos-17 will be the most advanced high-throughput satellite to provide communication services to sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite also offers coverage for growing satellite service markets in the Middle East and Europe.

The Amos-17 satellite. (Spacecom)

"Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete," SpaceX tweeted on Sunday. "[The] team is now working toward August 6 for launch of AMOS-17 from Pad 40 in Florida, pending Range availability."

The reusable Falcon 9 launch vehicle, designed and manufactured by Elon Musk's SpaceX, is a two-stage rocket for the transport of satellites and other commercial payloads into orbit.

The launch vehicle booster scheduled to deliver Amos-17 has previously flown in support of Canadian communication company Telesat's Telstar 19V satellite in July 2018 and Japanese-built Qatari satellite Es’hail-2 in November 2018.

While a standard satellite launch on-board Falcon 9 is priced at $62 million, SpaceX is providing the launch at no cost to Spacecom after the company's $200m. Amos-6 satellite, leased by Facebook, was destroyed in an explosion during a launch test at Cape Canaveral in September 2016.

SpaceX later confirmed that the explosion was likely due to a breach in the helium system of the Falcon 9's second stage liquid oxygen tank, leading to the fiery and destructive ignition of the launch vehicle and its cargo.

In September 2018, the Science and Technology Ministry said it would subsidize the development and construction of a new Israeli-built communication satellite: the Amos-8.

The satellite, which will be built and designed entirely in Israel by Israel Aerospace Industries, will be the seventh in a series of Israeli communications satellites, with all but one developed by IAI.

Contact was lost with Amos-5, developed by Russian company Reshetnev, in November 2015. The latest satellite is expected to be built within four years.

The first satellite in the series, AMOS-1, was launched in 1996, primarily for home television transmissions. The lifetime of existing satellites is 15-20 years.

Once operational, Spacecom says Amos-17 will be the most advanced high-throughput satellite to provide communication services to sub-Saharan Africa. The Boeing-constructed satellite also offers coverage for growing satellite service markets in the Middle East and Europe.


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