SpaceX successfully launched Spacecom Satellite Communications Ltd.'s (TASE:SCC) Amos 17 communications satellite earlier this morning Israel-time. The Falcon 9 rocket of SpaceX, controlled by Elon Musk, lifted off at 7.23 pm local time Tuesday from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The successful launch comes nearly three years after Amos 6 was destroyed on the launch pad in Florida after an explosion destroyed the Falcon launch rocket. The explosion cost Spacecom dearly, with a $285 million sale agreement to China's Xinwei Group falling through and a deal with Facebook to provide Internet coverage for Africa annulled.
This time SpaceX was taking no chances and the launch was delayed for three days due to a suspected hitch in a valve in one of the rocket engines.
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..
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."
He added, "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 7, 2019
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