IAI postpones Amos 3 satellite launch

Following technical difficulties, launch of advanced communications satellite put off at least a day.

amos 3 satellite (photo credit: IAI)
amos 3 satellite
(photo credit: IAI)
The takeoff of Israel's Amos 3 communications satellite, which had been slated for around 8 a.m. on Thursday in Kazakhstan, was postponed until next week due to a failure in its launching system, Israel Aerospace Industries announced. As a result, Beit Hanassi suspended a large reception hosted by President Shimon Peres to commemorate the launch on Thursday morning. Peres had already begun to speak when he was informed of the delay. The satellite, which is to join the Amos 1 and 2 in space, will provide high-quality broadcasting and communications services to Europe, the Middle East and the East Coast of the United States. The satellite was built by Israel Aerospace Industries's MBT Space Division and is to replace the Amos 1, which was initially intended to operate for 11 years but has already been orbiting the Earth for 12. The new satellite has a predicted operating life of 18 years and will carry a 250 kg. payload, compared to 160 kg. for the other Amos satellites. It is to be placed in a geostationary orbit, 36,000 km. from Earth. The launch is now scheduled for early next week from the Baikonur missile launch site in Kazakhstan. In January, Israel launched the TecSar satellite, the first of its kind developed here, and one of the world's most advanced space systems. The TecSar can create high-resolution images using advanced radar technology called Synthetic Aperture Radar. In addition to the TecSar and the Amos 1 and 2, Israel operates the Ofek 7, Eros B and Ofek 5 spy satellites. Several months ago, IAI unveiled its third-generation, low-weight, optical observation satellite, called OptSat 3000, which is meant to replace the Ofek series. OptSat 3000 represents a breakthrough in terms of weight, autonomy and the ability to record a large number of images on each satellite pass. OptSat 3000 is based on a new generic, small platform that can accommodate several types of payloads and contains Panchromatic & Multi-Spectral imaging cameras, which are capable of simultaneous operation and the creation of higher-resolution pan-sharpened images.