Contact Lost With Israeli Communication Satellite Amos 5

Satellite operator Spacecom has been unable to reestablish contact with Amos 5 since it went quiet early Saturday morning.

Michael Rochvarger
Michael Rochvarger
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The 2013 launch of Israel's Amos 4 satellite.
The 2013 launch of Israel's Amos 4 satellite. Credit: Israel Aircraft Industries
Michael Rochvarger
Michael Rochvarger

Contact with the Israeli communications satellite Amos 5 was lost on Saturday and customers are no longer receiving service, satellite operator Spacecom announced on Saturday. Spacecom is owned by the Eurocom Group.

Contact with the satellite was lost early Saturday morning. Spacecom said it had been unable to reestablish contact with the satellite and had not yet isolated the cause of the problem.

Launched in 2011, Amos 5 is in geostationary orbit over Africa. Its coverage extends over Africa, Europe and the Middle East. It is regarded as playing a major role in Africa’s emerging satellite services market.

Unlike the first four Amos satellites, which were built by the Israel Aerospace Industries, the Amos 5 satellite was built by Russian manufacturer NPO PM.

Industry experts described the total loss of contact with the satellite as a highly uncommon event.

The announcement comes as Eurocom is in the process of selling Spacecom, which has been valued at 1.1 billion shekels. Eurocom owns 64.5 percent of Spacecom.

Amos 5, which brings in annual revenue of some $40 million, has an estimated value of between $160 million and $190 million. It is insured by an international syndicate for $158 million.

“The Company wishes to clarify, based on the preliminary examinations it carried out, that even if there will be a ‘total loss’ (complete failure) of the satellite, this would have a negligible effect on the equity of the company,” Spacecom said in a statement.

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