Israeli firm seeks free space launch, compensation for destroyed satellite

SpaceCom is expected to receive around $205 million in compensation for the lost satellite

The Israeli communications company whose $200 million satellite was destroyed in an explosion during a test firing of a SpaceX rocket in Florida last week is seeking either compensation or a free future space launch for the lost device.

Israeli communications firm Space Communication (SpaceCom)’s Amos-6 satellite was destroyed on Thursday when the Falcon 9 rocket set to hoist the device into orbit exploded on the launch pad.

SpaceCom said it expects either a $50 million payout from the private aerospace company owned by Elon Musk or “the launch of a future satellite carried out under the existing agreement and with the payments that have [already] been made.”

SpaceCom will also receive over $173 million in compensation plus interest from Israel’s Aerospace Industries (IAI) under an insurance policy on the device, IAI said in a statement Saturday.

According to SpaceCom, the total amount due to be received from IAI is “approximately $205 million.”

An IAI spokesperson said that, as per the insurance policy, the amount must be paid “in under 60 days,” the Times of Israel reports.

HO (NASA TV/AFP/ho)

SpaceCom said in a statement on Saturday night that additional insurers are expected to pay an additional $39 million for the satellite’s loss.

SpaceCom’s stock has fallen 45 percent since the explosion on Thursday, placing the future of the company in jeopardy.

The private Israeli firm was set to be acquired by China’s Xinwei group pending the successful launch of the Amos-6 satellite in a deal reported to be worth $285 million, Israel Space Agency (ISA) said Friday.

“I very much hope that SpaceCom is strong enough to overcome these things and to order a new satellite,” ISA head Yitzchak Ben-Yisrael told Israeli Radio on Friday.

“If it orders a new satellite, it will take between two and three years to fill the gap,” he added.

The Amos-6 satellite was set to be launched into space on a 16-year mission intended, in part, to serve Facebook’s Internet.org project and bring Internet connectivity to sub-Saharan Africa.

Philippe Lopez (AFP/File)

IAI said in a statement Saturday that Amos-6 was the “most advanced” satellite ever built in Israel by IAI and ISA.

Weighing 12,125 pounds (5,500 kilograms), the satellite was SpaceX’s heaviest payload to date, according to the Space Flight Insider website.

SpaceX has lost several rockets in its attempt to transform the aerospace industry by re-using expensive rocket parts traditionally left to fall discarded into the oceans.

This latest explosion came just over a year after a Falcon 9 rocket failed just after liftoff, on June 28, 2015, destroying a Dragon cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station (ISS).

The firm has also lost several rockets as it attempted to land them upright on an ocean platform at the end of a flight.

(Staff with agencies)



from Department of Private Space Inc.