Spacecom’s faith in SpaceX remains solid in lead up to AMOS-17 launch
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLa. — SpaceX might be based out of California, but the NewSpace company is making its presence known in Florida. An upcoming flight could serve as a renewal of sorts for a relationship with one of the company’s clients.
On Wednesday, July 31, the company conducted a static test fire of the nine Merlin 1D engines located at the business end of a Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket. The test fire was carried out at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) in Florida. This test is one of the final hurdles the Falcon 9 has to clear before being given the go-ahead for flight, in this case the flight of the AMOS-17 communications satellite.
AMOS-17’s flight could serve as confirmation that Spacecom’s (the satellite’s operator) faith in SpaceX is well-founded. This is due to the fact that an earlier test involving another AMOS spacecraft didn’t go as well.
On Sept. 1, 2016 another Falcon 9 rocket was destroyed, along with the AMOS-6 satellite that was enclosed in the rocket’s nose cone as well as part of SLC-40. The satellite was estimated to have cost as much as $200 million (USD).
One might assume that this would make Spacecom skittish in terms of flying another of the Israeli company’s payloads atop a SpaceX launch vehicle. With the AMOS 17 satellite poised for launch at 6:51 p.m. EDT (22:51 UTC) , this does not appear to be the case. In fact, AMOS-6’s successor, dubbed AMOS-8 – is also scheduled to launch atop a Falcon 9.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.