Space Communication Ltd.’s AMOS 6 satellite destroyed in last week’s launchpad explosion could cost SpaceX $50 million. The Israeli communications satellite operator said that it could seek compensation or a free flight on the U.S. space agency’s Falcon 9 rocket to cover the cost of its now destroyed advanced communications satellite. The company also said that it could collect $205 million from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) that made the satellite.
SpaceX may be on the hook to compensate Spacecom either with $50 million or a free trip
Reuters notes that SpaceX has not revealed what insurance it had for its Falcon 9 to cover launchpad damages beyond what was required by the United States’ national aviation authority, the FAA, which oversees all aspects of American civil aviation, for liability and damage to government property. The private space agency said that it does not disclose contract or insurance agreements. The construction of the satellite, and the preparation for its launch and operation, comes with a cost of over $195 million, according to Tech Times.
The $50 million request for compensation is the first official request from a satellite owner involved with SpaceX’s Thursday explosion. While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was deeply disappointed by the incident, he has not yet announced what the firm plans to do next.
AMOS 6 was leased by the social networking giant to provide Internet connectivity to rural sub-Saharan Africa, as part of its Internet.org initiative. The Zuckerberg-led company had collaborated with France-based Eutelstat Communications to help deliver the service. The company is reportedly looking at alternatives after the loss of AMOS 6 satellite.
Spacecom said it would be seeking either a free flight or a payment of $50 million from Musk’s SpaceX. The launchpad explosion that destroyed the U.S. private space agency’s Falcon 9 carrying the AMOS 6 satellite is being felt well beyond the Cape Canaveral launch pad in Florida. The satellite would have been employed to significantly expand various communications services offered by the Israel-based communications satellite operator.
The New York Times notes that last week’s explosion and a failed launch in 2015, when SpaceX’s rocket carrying a NASA cargo fell apart, are raising questions about Musk’s private space firm that has risen quickly by promising accelerated launch schedules and offering lower costs. The key for the company is how rapidly it can satisfy federal investigators and resume launching payloads into orbit.
An acquisition of the company that operates AMOS 2 and AMOS 3 satellites by Beijing Xinwei Technology Group was also contingent on the successful launch of AMOS 6 without a hitch. Gil Lotan, Space Communications Ltd.’s general counsel said that it was too early to say whether the Chinese wireless communication provider was still interested in acquiring the Israeli firm.
Spacecom said it could seek $50 million or a free flight on SpaceX’s rocket as a result of the explosion that fried its communication satellite. The Israeli firm has been hit hard by the incident with its equity expected to decline by $30M to $123M. The explosion occurred on Thursday, September 1, during a routine firing of the space agency’s Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
By Anila Maring
Photo Courtesy YouTube
from Department of Private Space Inc.