SpaceX To Launch Israeli Communications Satellite For Spacecom
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is beginning 2013 by adding another contract to its growing launch portfolio. Building on the impressive 14 signed launch contracts by the end of last year, the company that was behind a landmark resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in October, has now signed a new contract to launch an Israeli communications satellite in 2015.
Partnering with Space Communication Ltd. (Spacecom), SpaceX announced the deal to launch the AMOS-6 satellite on its Falcon 9 launch vehicle, sending the orbiter into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). The satellite will add to Spacecom’s existing fleet of satellites, bringing broadband Internet services to Africa, Europe and the Middle East. AMOS-6 will replace AMOS-2, which is expected to end service in 2016, after spending 13 years in orbit. AMOS-6’s design lifespan is 16 years.
Spacecom, which has been a SpaceX supporter for some time, initially signed a $195 million deal with Israel Aerospace Industries in November for construction of a satellite. Additionally, MDA Corp of Canada has been contracted to develop the Ku-band and Ka-band communications equipment for the satellite.
SpaceX and Spacecom signed an agreement in 2010 for the launch of an unspecified AMOS satellite, and Tuesday’s announcement apparently seals the deal for Spacecom’s first payload to fly with SpaceX.
“This last year has been one of great success and tremendous growth,” Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said in a statement. “Spacecom was one of our earliest supporters. SpaceX is proud to be their partner and we look forward to launching their AMOS 6 satellite.”
“We are excited to partner with SpaceX and its tremendous team. AMOS 6 will be larger and stronger than AMOS 2 and AMOS 3 combined, and signals a new age for Spacecom,” said David Pollack, president and CEO of Spacecom. “As we establish our position as a global satellite operator providing more services and capacity, AMOS 6 will be a key element of our business strategy and future.”
The AMOS-6 satellite will be jointly used by commercial customers and the Israeli government.