This is the conclusion of the special committee chaired by the Director General of the Ministry of Science, Peretz IBM, appointed by the Minister after the explosion of Amos 6. An additional NIS 120 million per year is required for the restoration of the space program. The reason: the need to man the sky points in Israel's hands and the importance of the satellites as a means of communication with the world in the event of sabotage of the submarine cables
The space industry is currently in a serious crisis that threatens the national space program - this is according to the report of the committee that was established following the explosion of the Amos 6 satellite. The Minister of Science decided on the establishment of the committee Ofir Akunis To examine the civilian space program focusing on the field of communication satellites.
Today, Monday, the committee presented its conclusions at a press conference chaired by Minister Akunis. Minister Akunis said at the press conference: "The main conclusion that emerges from the report is that the state must invest in a new Israeli communication satellite instead of Amos 6. Currently, no additional communication satellite is being developed in Israel and there is a fear that in an emergency Israel will not have an answer to its communication needs, and there may be severe damage to the communication capabilities, in the economy and the routine of life. This is a vital need to ensure the existence of Israel as a country whose future is in its hands and to maintain our position in the limited club of countries operating in space, we must budget for a new satellite."
Among the recommendations that emerge from the report, extension of 120 million shekels per year for the budget of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Science for the development of satellites and projects in space; Establishing an array of four active communication satellites at the same time and supporting the development of products in the space industry that will compete in the global market. The committee states that "an array of communications satellites strengthens Israel's communications redundancy and security during an emergency," and that the State of Israel has a vital need for independent capabilities to obtain information and transmit it through Israeli communications satellites.
The committee, which was led by the Director General of the Ministry of Science Peretz and Zane , paints a worrying picture according to which the field of communication satellites in Israel is in a serious crisis that threatens the entire space program. The explosion of Amos 6 and the loss of communication with Amos 5 affected the plans to replace Amos 2, which serves many Israeli consumers, and is expected to end its role at the beginning of 2017. At this stage, no additional communication satellite is being developed in Israel, and the state will soon have only two active communication satellites made in Israel - Amos 3 and Amos 4.
This situation, the report states, leaves Israel with only a partial ability to use communication satellites for the benefit of all national needs. Without the immediate development of another communication satellite, the space industry will suffer irreparable damage due to the loss of knowledge, abilities and expertise that have been accumulated over years, and are essential for additional projects in the space field.
Against the background of this situation and in order to deal with the needs of the country, the committee came to the conclusion that a national policy is required that defines the activity in target space as a national priority.
In the field of communications, the members of the committee believe that the best plan, which takes into account all the needs and the cost to the state, is the use of commercial communications satellites made in Israel and operating them through an Israeli company. Since the cost of communication satellites made in Israel is higher than their cost on the world market, the committee states that it is necessary to draw up an outline that will enable the development of infrastructure and capabilities in order to bridge the cost gap.
For the purpose of realizing this outline, the committee recommends an array of at least four communication satellites active at the same time. This system, according to the committee, will provide redundancy and backup in the event of damage to the functioning of other communication systems, maintaining the sky points assigned by the UN to Israeli communication satellites, as well as in the event of hostile activity or technical failure. Given that the accepted lifespan of a communication satellite is 15 years, the meaning of four active communication satellites at the same time is the production of at least one satellite every four years.
The committee recommends that, in the immediate term, assistance of 20 million shekels per year be given to the company "Hell Communication" for the temporary lease of a satellite in place of Amos 6. This funding will be required until the development of a new satellite in Israel is completed.
Beyond that, the committee states that the immediate launch of a multi-year national plan for the full development and construction of four new Israeli-made communication satellites is required. For this purpose, a government investment of 70 million NIS per year is required, which will be invested in production, infrastructure construction and R&D. The investment will preserve Israel's full independent capabilities in developing satellites without the need to rely on foreign procurement.
The committee also emphasized the need for civil investment to foster national infrastructures in academia and industry in the field of civil space, with an emphasis on possibilities for economic leverage. The committee requests that the budget of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Science be set at 110 million NIS per year (30 million NIS more than the current budget). In addition, the committee recommends developing a satellite, which is an engineering and scientific mission, every four years.
In order to restore Israel's relative advantage in the field of space, the report recommends giving priority to the development of products in the space industry, including capabilities and services that will allow it to compete in the global space market, in the areas and interfaces where it has an advantage. This is the case, for example, in the interface between the space domain and the cyber domain, an interface for which demand is increasing in the world. The global space market is estimated at about 320 billion dollars a year and the estimates are that Israel can reach an export of about 3 billion dollars a year.
Based on these recommendations, the committee requests that the Ministry of Science and the National Security Headquarters formulate a decision-making proposal to be submitted to the Cabinet.
The committee held 12 meetings to which, depending on the matter, representatives from the space industries, academia, start-up companies in the space field, and government ministries and public authorities and public representatives were invited.
The chairman of the committee is the Director General of the Ministry of Science Peretz Vezan and its members: Director General of the Ministry of Communications Shlomo Filber; Chairman of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Science, Prof. Col. (resp.) Yitzhak Ben-Israel; Head of the Space Program at the Ministry of Defense Brigadier General (acting) Amnon Harari; Chairman of the Space Committee at the National R&D Council, Prof. Brigadier General (resp.) Haim Ashad; Director of the Israel Space Agency in the Ministry of Science Avi Blasberger; Deputy Head of the Authority for Innovation Tzachi Shenrach; Yanon Ben Tzur, head of the technological ventures division at the National Security Headquarters. Dr. Daganit Paikovsky from Tel Aviv University coordinated the committee's work and compiled the report summarizing its action. Moran Kogan, director of regulation at the Ministry of Science, was the secretary of the committee.
More of the topic in Hayadan:
- The operator of the communication satellites must be an Israeli company
- Explosion at the SPACEX launch pad at Cape Canaveral * Prof. Ben Israel: the Amos 6 satellite was destroyed
- The Aerospace Industry: We will make communication space available - we hope that the government will act to preserve knowledge
- Space Communications is sold to the Chinese Xinwei Group just days before the Amos 6 launch