Amos 17 launch postponed until Wed

Amos 17

The launch of Spacecom's communications satellite has been delayed after a suspected fault was found in a valve in SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch missile.

The launch of the Amos 17 communications satellite into space has been postponed by three days and is now scheduled for the very early hours of Wednesday morning, Israel time. The postponement was announced this morning by US company SpaceX, which is launching Amos 17.

The launch of the satellite, belonging to Israeli company Spacecom Satellite Communications Ltd. (TASE:SCC), was originally scheduled for today. However, on Friday SpaceX announced there would be a postponement due to additional checks of the Falcon 9 launch missile. Spacecom said that SpaceX suspected a fault in the valve of one of Falcon 9's engines and it was decided to replace it.

This morning SpaceX announced that an additional trial of the launcher had been successfully carried out and that the launch would take place on the evening of Tuesday August 6, US time, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Following this announcement, Spacecom's share price rose 5% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), giving a market cap of NIS 310 million. Spacecom's share price has risen 145% since the start of 2019.

Last week, Spacecom gave a press briefing ahead of the anticipated launch of Amos 17. The satellite was built by Boeing and will be located in space above Africa at 17 degrees east longitude and will enable satellite TV and Internet broadcasts throughout the continent.

Spacecom currently operates three communications satellites: Amos 3, Amos 4, and Amos 7, the latter of which it has been renting for the past two and a half years. The current launch is the first by the company since its previous satellite, Amos 6, exploded before launch in September 2016.

During the briefing, Spacecom CEO David Pollack said, "We had an agreement on the late Amos 6 with Facebook to provide Internet for everyone in Africa. It was a dream agreement. I still remember the explosion of Amos 6, and we lost this agreement, but I hope that we can do this with Amos 17."

"Following the malfunction with Amos 6, Facebook decided that they would no longer make agreements with customers before satellite launchings. We hope that after the launch, agreements will emerge with companies like Facebook," Pollack added. He also confirmed that Facebook had already been contacted on the matter.

Spacecom said that it already had a $58 million orders backlog for communications services in Africa and additional services. The company expects that following the launch, it would be able to step up its sales and sign more large contracts. One of the contracts that Spacecom hopes to obtain is with Facebook, thanks to the technological supremacy that the new satellite brings to Africa, in comparison with Spacecom's competitors above the continent.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 4, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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