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AMOS-8 Satellite to Be Built in Israel With Government Funding

AMOS-8 Satellite to Be Built in Israel With Government Funding

The funding means that the AMOS satellites operator Spacecom will be able to withdraw from its $112 million deal with U.S. company Loral, which it contracted to build AMOS-8 in March

Amarelle Wenkert  :  2018-09-04T07:25:03..
The Israeli government approved the funding required for the construction of communications satellite AMOS-8, which is now set to be built in Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space announced the decision Monday.

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The funding means that the AMOS satellite operator, Israeli company Space Communication Ltd., known as Spacecom, will be able to withdraw from its $112 million deal with Palo Alto, California-based Space Systems/Loral LLC, which it contracted to build AMOS-8 in March in lieu of government aid.

AMOS 6. Photo: PR AMOS 6. Photo: PR AMOS 6. Photo: PR

Spacecom has already postponed payment to Loral twice, in what seemed like a prolonged game of chicken with the Israeli government. So far, five out of Spacecom's seven AMOS satellites were manufactured in Israel by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI).

IAI was one of four companies to vy for the AMOS-8 contract but was unable to make a competitive offer.

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AMOS-8 is intended to replace AMOS-7, which has been leased by Spacecom for four years following the 2016 destruction of its previous satellite, AMOS-6, in a pre-launch explosion. As a result of the accident, Spacecom lost a $95 million deal with Facebook and a planned $285 million acquisition by Shanghai-listed telecommunications technologies supplier Beijing Xinwei Technology Group Ltd. The accident spelled severe financial repercussions to IAI as well.

In March, Calcalist reported that IAI needed government funding of $20.1 million (NIS $70 million) a year, over several years, to be able to secure the AMOS-8 contract, citing two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. These people said that Spacecom’s deal with Loral was designed to pressure the government to provide the necessary funding for the satellite to be built domestically.

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