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It appears: Amos 8 will not be built in Israel - "the state is deliberately destroying the industry"

Less than half of the amount needed to build Amos 8 was raised. Chairman of the subcommittee on space in the Knesset, MK Yoav Kish: "Even though it is a national need, the state has decided to consciously destroy the communications satellite industry in space", the Aerospace Industry: "The gaps are too great, A step from the end of the road".

Simulation of the Amos 5 satellite. Source: Andrzej Olchawa, Wikimedia Commons.
Simulation of a loaded type satellite. Source: Andrzej Olchawa, Wikimedia Commons.

In a follow-up discussion regarding the future of communication satellites in Israel, in the space subcommittee in the Knesset, it emerged that the state was able to raise less than half the amount needed to build and operate Amos 8. The discrepancies lead to the lease of the foreign satellite Amos 7 being extended at a cost of tens of millions, which is expected to lead to the cancellation of the project defined as national need'.

MK Yoav Kish opened the discussion: "Unfortunately, we have been discussing the issue for a year and a half, since the explosion of the Amos 6 satellite. We are here to see how the communication satellite industry in Israel continues forward."

Peretz Vezan, Director General of the Ministry of Science and Technology: "As of today, there is a significant gap between the industry and the allocated budget, there is an agreement regarding the relative distribution between the ministries and we are ready to add an additional amount on the part of the Ministry of Science, but this is conditional on the Treasury also completing its relative share." The industry and the space company will also have to shrink and offer a more realistic price. As of today there is no commitment from all the parties to the production of Amos 8, the project can still be saved if all the parties make the right decisions. We have a month for this, until the end of February, so we can still staff the required points on time, otherwise we will miss the goal of Israeli production and operation."

Avi Blasberger, Director of the Israel Space Agency: "The schedule here is critical, among other things to keep the points of the sky on time, the sand in the clock is running out."

Michal Galbert, Ministry of Finance: "The allocated amount is 14 million NIS from the Ministry of Finance, any amount beyond that other ministries can participate. This should cover the amount with a proportional distribution between the parties and an assumption that the compensation for Amos 6 is distributed proportionally between the parties."

Ofer Doron, director of Bat Halal, the Aerospace Industry: "The committee appointed by the Ministry of Science made clear recommendations with the required amount - 70 million NIS per year, I understand that there is less than half of the recommended amount and that is the gap, what's more, within the framework of this budget they are building to receive funds from insurance that does not exist. 14 million and a little more from the Ministry of Science is not enough, the gaps are too big and unfortunately it seems to me that we are a step away from the end of the road. Space Communications leases a replacement satellite for a lot of money, someone will have to pay for the extension of the contract and it will not come together at this rate."

Gil Lotan, VP of Space Communications: "Out of the 4 satellites that we have led, this is the first case that the government actively participates in leading the process, this requires allowing the company to raise capital under conditions suitable for it and the capital market. It is not clear to us why the relatively small amounts are not agreed upon and regulated by the state. There is a significant gap between the offer and the costs. The intermediate satellite started working on February 17, the first lease is for 4 years until February 21. From our point of view, the start of operation should be no later than this date, we are in a situation where the writing is pretty much on the wall that we will not stand and will have to extend the lease, this means 23 million dollars per year or About 12 million per six months."

Doron: "4 years are needed for construction, including the time for breakdowns, which means that in order to launch by February 2021, we need to conclude by the end of next month."

MK Kish: "Every month that passes its meaning is financial and that kills the story. Space Communications has a limit to its patience, it will not agree to absorb another 23 million dollars. February is a critical month. I hear the statement of the Treasury and the Ministry of Science, I am contacting all the government ministries, in the end the money from the insurance will be distributed as it is supposed to be distributed, let's first put the money for the next project according to the commitment, I was happy to hear that there are activity percentages of the ministries regarding Amos 8 and this should lead the move. This is the gap in front of the national need, I also ask the space company and the aerospace industry to be flexible and come closer in the face of a converging move by the government ministries to bring this process to a close, without your effort it will not be closed, reduce the gaps as much as possible."

The chairman of the subcommittee summed up the discussion: "I don't see a solution at the moment. Although it is a national need, the state has decided to destroy the communication satellite industry in space consciously. I will be surprised if there is a solution within two weeks, with the explosion of Amos 6 the communication satellite industry in Israel also exploded. The government ministries, space communications and the aerospace industry should in the next two weeks close this outline, in my view this will not happen, I would be happy to receive a message that you want to present the outline and I will bring in the committee, I don't see it at the moment. It seems that the national need will remain on paper."

See more on the subject on the science website:

One response

  1. Just whining. If one launch failure (which is not a rare event) brings down the communication satellite industry, it means that this industry is not worth much. The state should not subsidize economic failures.

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