Israel’s Spacecom to launch advanced satellite to service Africa

Israel’s Space Communication Ltd plans a satellite launch next weekend which it hopes will mark a rebound from a couple of major setbacks in recent years.

Amos-17, which will provide communication services to Africa, had a total budget including manufacturing, insurance and launch of about $250 million, and will join three others Spacecom operates.

It was manufactured by Boeing Co and has an expected lifespan of about 20 years.

Spacecom hopes a successful launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Aug. 3 will end a rough patch. In 2015 the company lost contact with its Amos-5 satellite and a year later Amos-6 was destroyed days before its scheduled launch when a SpaceX rocket exploded.

“We learned lessons from those catastrophes,” CEO David Pollack told Reuters on Sunday following a news conference. For example, he said Amos-17 would not be combined with the launcher before the latter is fully tested.

“What happened with Amos-5 and Amos-6 was a setback for the company. So we know what to do. We believe we know how to grow. And it’s just a wonderful opportunity that comes with Amos-17, which is the most advanced satellite for the continent most in need,” Pollack said.

Amos-17 is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will orbit 36,000 kilometers above central Africa, providing TV, internet and cellular services as well as services to governments.