Amos 17 Comsat Set for Launching

YERUSHALAYIM -
Amos 17
David Pollack, CEO of Israel’s Space Communication Ltd., next to a model of Amos-17 satellite at the company offices in Ramat Gan, Sunday. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Israel’s next space shot is ready for next Sunday. Not a landing on the moon this time; rather an orbital communications satellite, Amos 17.

The mission is a commercial one, aimed at upgrading cellular and internet services to Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Spacecom, which is sending Amos 17 into space, said it has a sales backlog of $58 million for communication services to Africa and for other services.

The satellite will be placed atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and launched from the Kennedy Space Center next Sunday or Monday, depending on weather conditions, Ynet reported. It has a projected lifespan of 20 years, and will orbit 36,000 km. above central Africa.

The launch comes almost three years after the company’s Amos-6 satellite was destroyed in an explosion on the launching pad.

The satellite will be the first over Africa that will provide high-throughput satellite services (HTS) as well as C-band frequencies, which allow high availability of service, the company said.

It will be suited to the African climate and send a single beam per country, as opposed to numerous narrow beams provided by other common HTS satellites. Its digital payload will provide higher service availability and easier customer adaptation and expansion, the company said, and will be able to adapt to existing C-Band terminals on the ground, so there will be no need to upgrade equipment.