Spacecom to claim compensation from IAI, SpaceX for Amos-6 loss
Space Communications (Spacecom), owner of the Amos-6 satellite that was destroyed in the Sept. 1 pad explosion along with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket tasked with lofting it into orbit, is preparing to claim compensation from the satellite’s manufacturer, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), as well as SpaceX.
Jerusalem Online reported Spacecom will demand $205 million from IAI and $50 million from SpaceX.
They also mentioned the company’s equity decreased by $30 million due to the accident. In the days following the explosion, Spacecom’s stock, which trades in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange under SCC, fell by more than 40 percent.
In statement released Sept. 4 to the exchange, Spacecom said because the failure occurred prior to a launch, their satellite was not covered under any launch insurance. According to Globes, what premium they had purchased will be returned to the company.
Additionally, Reuters reported under an agreement with Spacecom said it was entitled to a full refund from IAI for the cost of construction of the satellite with interest of Libor plus 4 percent on each payment the company made to IAI.
Spacecom will use part of that money to repay the state of Israel $17 million. Additionally, the rest received will be used to pay back a series of bonds of which “bondholders now have cause to demand repayment,” according to Globes.
The Globes report mentions Spacecom is due to receive $50 million in compensation from SpaceX, but it can also choose instead to use another Falcon 9 rocket without payment.
On top of that, Space News reported just over a week before the explosion that a Chinese group, Beijing Xinwei Technology Group, was planning on purchasing the satellite company. The Israeli company’s shareholders agreed Aug. 24 to sell the company for $285 million in cash.
However, this purchase was dependent on a successful launch and the entry into service of Amos-6, which was supposed to be sent into orbit Sept. 3.
Now the two companies, according to Globes, are “examining adjustment of the agreement between them in the light of the failure with the Amos 6 satellite.”
Amos-6 was expected to be positioned in the 4 degrees West orbital position in geostationary orbit. It would have replaced the aging Amos-2 spacecraft to serve parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
Globes reported IAI had purchased also insurance for the satellite and is due to receive compensation, which it will then transfer to Spacecom – an expected total of $173 million.
Facebook with Eutelsat also had a business deal with Spacecom. Together, they were expected to pay $95 million over five years to lease Ka-band capacity on Amos-6. This would have provided coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa for Facebook’s Internet.org.
But with the loss of the satellite, according to Spacecom, the business deal with Facebook will be nullified.
Space News has reported shares in other satellite companies, in addition to Spacecom, have also fallen. In particular, Iridium, which was next in line for launch with SpaceX, saw its shares fall by 5 percent in the minutes after the accident.
Iridium shares trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
SpaceX is still in the early phases of an investigation on why the explosion occurred. According to an update on their website, the company is currently examining a time period of just 35-55 milliseconds.
The NewSpace firm also confirmed the launch pad, Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, incurred damage, but they have not determined the scope. The company noted their other two launch pads (one in California and the other at Kennedy Space Center in Forida) are capable of launching both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. SpaceX said they are confident those two pads can support their return to flight and upcoming launch manifest.
Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is currently in the final stages of an operational upgrade while Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center is expected to be operational by November on the company’s current schedule.
Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.