April 9, 2018 / 12:28 PM / in 7 months

Israel Aerospace mulls launching satellite after Spacecom snub

FILE PHOTO: The logo of state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's biggest defence contractor, is seen at their offices next to Ben Gurion International airport, near Or Yehuda, Israel February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said on Monday it was considering launching and operating a communications satellite after it was passed over to build the Amos-8 satellite for Space Communications.

Israel’s Spacecom last month chose U.S.-based Space Systems/Loral (SSL), a unit of Maxar Technologies, over IAI to build the Amos-8 satellite that is slated to be launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the second half of 2020.

IAI, the maker of previous Amos satellites, said it was “surprised” Spacecom chose an American manufacturer.

It noted that it was examining manufacturing its own satellite, which it will also operate to provide satellite communications services to Israel’s government and other customers in Israel and abroad.

IAI said it planned to apply to Israel’s Communications Ministry for a license to operate the satellite.

In September 2016, the IAI-built Amos-6 was destroyed days before its scheduled launch when a SpaceX launcher exploded. Spacecom also lost contact with another satellite in 2015.

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen

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