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Spacecom gets AsiaSat-8 to cover for Amos-6 satellite lost in Falcon 9 blast

Thursday, December 1, 2016 22:33
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WASHINGTON — Israeli satellite operator Spacecom, whose relationship with Facebook could be summed up as “it’s complicated” following the loss of its Amos-6 satellite in September, will borrow part of AsiaSat’s newest satellite for at least four years, Spacecom and Hong Kong-based AsiaSat announced Dec. 1.  Facebook, through Eutelsat, had leased all of the Amos-6 satellite’s high-throughput Ka-band capacity to provide internet access to Africa. Facebook and Spacecom haven’t provided any sort of updated relationship status since the loss of Amos-6.  Amos-6, which Israel Aerospace Industries had touted as the most advanced Israeli-made satellite, was equipped with 39 Ku-band beams and 24 Ka-band spot beams. AsiaSat-8, built by Space Systems Loral in the U.S., has 24 Ku-band transponders as well as a Ka-band payload.  AsiaSat appears to be holding onto the Ka-band payload.  pacecom’s immediate need for AsiaSat-8 is to replace Amos-2, which launched in 2003 and is nearing the end of its service life.  Amos-6, had it reached orbit, would have allowed Spacecom to retire Amos-2 while also providing growth capacity. It is unclear whether the AsiaSat-8 lease will have any bearing on Spacecom’s dealings with Beijing Xinwei Technology Group, a Chinese conglomerate that had agreed this August to purchase the Israeli operator for $285 million. Xinwei stipulated that the successful launch of Amos-6 was a requisite for completing the acquisition.

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