Israeli satellite operator Space Communications will be sending its newest Amos-17 satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at no cost in 2019. The news comes via a press release by SpaceCom that indicates SpaceX will provide launch services for the Amos-17 satellite in 2019 which will be followed by a second launch in 2020 for its Amos-8 satellite. More notably, the “launch agreement” constitutes a correction to the failed Amos-6 satellite launch after the “Facebook satellite” was destroyed when its Falcon 9 launcher exploded during a routine static fire test two days ahead of liftoff.
SpaceX has provided the Israeli company “credits” from the unfilled September 2016 Amos-6 mission that SpaceCom will use to cover the launch fees for Amos-17. It’s not clear if the launch credits were a result of litigation after SpaceCom reportedly sued SpaceX for $50 million and demanded a free flight following the failed launch. The failed mission put a devastating blow on the Israeli space industry, but arguably more so on social network giant Facebook and their initiative to beam high-speed internet to sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite last year’s setback, SpaceCom has renewed their faith in Elon Musk’s space company and has agreed to pay SpaceX up to $62 million for its Amos-8 launch in 2020. Ahead of Amos-8, the Amos-17 launch is scheduled for the second quarter of 2019 and aimed at servicing the markets in Africa, the Middle East and Europe for up to 19 years.
Interested in solar? Get a solar cost estimate and find out how much a solar system would cost for your home or business.