"The Amos 6 communications satellite will incorporate new technologies that represent a significant leap forward in the capabilities of IAI and the State of Israel in space," said Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) newly appointed president and CEO Joseph Weiss in response to the company's selection by Spacecom Satellite Communications Ltd. (TASE:SCC) to build the $200 million dollar satellite and ground control station, and to provide operating services for the satellite's 16-year lifespan. The Amos 6 is scheduled for launch in 2015.
Weiss added, "Under the Amos 6 program various components and assemblies that will be developed in IAI will constitute an additional step toward achieving independence in the development and production of communication satellites, as IAI currently enjoys in the field of observation satellites. Besides IAI, the Israel Space Agency will also participate in the funding of these activities."
The five-ton Amos 6 is planned to replace the Amos 2 satellite in geosynchronous orbit (36,000 kilometers) at the 4 degrees West orbital slot. It will have the capability to provide communication services that are significantly greater than those of the Amos 2 satellite, which IAI also built. IAI improved its engineering and production processes of communication satellites, on the basis of its experience in the development and production of previous satellites in order to improve the competitiveness of its bid.
IAI was under pressure to win the Amos 6 contract. The company feared that losing the tender would deal an irreversible blow to Israel's future ability to develop and manufacture satellites, as it would not be possible to employ the engineers, technicians, and operating staff without work. As Israel's only satellite manufacturer, some IAI officers wanted the Ministry of Defense to intervene to save the country's independent satellite capability. "The competition was tough," said Weiss. "We won because we were the most creative on both the business and technology side."
IAI and Spacecom will sign the final contract for the Amos 6 in a few weeks.
The Amos 6 will be IAI's 14th satellite. Ten of the satellites are still operational, and used for intelligence and communications missions. IAI is waiting for a new NIS 1 billion order from Italy for an intelligence satellite. The Ministry of Defense is due to sign a set of contracts with the Italian government for the deal.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 27, 2012
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