Space Communication Ltd (Spacecom), an Israeli private space company, plans to launch its Amos-17 communications satellites into space next Sunday (August 4, 2019). The satellite is scheduled to be mounted on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and launched into space from Cape Canaveral spaceport in Florida, United States.
Amos-17 was manufactured by Boeing, and it cost a total of about USD 250, including manufacturing, insurance and launch service.
Designed to provide television, telephone and internet services, Amos-17 has an in-orbit lifespan of about 20 years. The satellite will be launched into 17°E orbital position and will orbit 36,000 km above Central Africa, providing communications services across Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Spacecom hopes to recover from heavy losses, following the loss of contact with its Amos-5 satellite in 2015 and the destruction of Amos-6 in 2016, which was destroyed days before its scheduled launch when a SpaceX rocket exploded. With Amos-17, the company banks on the African market to recover from the losses over a 6-7 year period.
“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”, Spacecom CEO, David Pollack, told Reuters on Sunday, July 28, following a news conference.
Pollack added that the company had already recorded a sales backlog of about USD 58 million for communication services in Africa and other regions.
Spacecom’s officials expressed confidence in the African market to recoup their investment in the USD 250 million Amos-17 satellite, and equally recover from their previous setbacks.
“Africa is a huge continent with the fastest-growing population in the world, projected to reach 2.5 billion people in 2050. It also has the highest percentage of young people in the world, with about half of its current total population under the age of 18. The continent has a growing demand for content, with the number of households using digital TV growing at a rate of 20% year after year”, said Eran Shapiro, Director of Business and Technology Ventures at Spacecom.
Amos-17 will join three other Spacecom satellites that are currently orbiting the Earth.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Editor at Space in Africa. He writes about Africa’s NewSpace companies and emerging national space programs.