An Israeli space communications satellite began operating this week, marking a major milestone after the loss of two such satellites in the past two years.
The Israeli company Spacecom’s Amos-7 satellite will replace the aging Amos-2 communications satellite, and will service clients in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The same task had been designated for the Amos-6 satellite, which was destroyed last September when an explosion engulfed the Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket that was carrying the satellite during a routine test at Cape Canaveral Airbase in Florida. The explosion occurred two days before the satellite was scheduled to be launched into orbit. Additionally, Spacecom had lost contact with the Amos-5 communications satellite in 2015.
Amos-7 is the first addition to Spacecom’s fleet since the Florida explosion. In orbit since 2014, the satellite was procured from Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings for $22 million per year for four years, with an option to extend the contract for an additional year.
“The satellite is a key element in expanding our multi-regional growth patterns and enhancing the array of communications—broadcast, broadband and data—that we can provide,” said Spacecom’s senior vice president of sales, Jacob Keret.
Spacecom also announced it is buying a satellite from Boeing Satellite Systems International for $161 million.
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