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Operator Israel Spacecom
Mission duration Planned: 15 years,[1] Actual: None
Spacecraft properties
Bus AMOS 4000[2]
Manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries
Launch mass 5,500 kilograms (12,100 lb)[3]
Power 10 kW[2]
Start of mission
Launch date Never launched.
Rocket Falcon 9 Full Thrust
Launch site Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40
Contractor SpaceX
End of mission
Disposal Fire in failed launch rocket test
Destroyed 13:07, 1 September 2016 (UTC) (2016-09-01T13:07Z)[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geostationary
Longitude 4°West
Perigee 35,785 kilometres (22,236 mi)
Apogee 35,800 kilometres (22,200 mi)

36, 43 Ku band 36, 43 Ka band

Two S-band transponders
Coverage area Amos-6-Ka-band-coverage.svg

Amos-6 was a 5.5-tonne Israeli Earth communications satellite, one of the Spacecom AMOS series, that was built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a defense and aerospace company.[5]

Amos-6 was intended to be launched on Flight 29 of a SpaceX Falcon 9 to geosynchronous transfer orbit on 3 September 2016. However, on 1 September 2016, during the run-up to a static fire test, there was an anomaly on the launch pad resulting in a fire and the loss of the vehicle and its payload, Amos-6. There were no injuries.[4]


Amos stands for "Affordable Modular Optimized Satellite"[5] and is also an allusion to the prophet Amos. This spacecraft is the second implementation of the AMOS-4000 platform, the first was the Amos-4. It is one of a series of satellites built by Israel Aerospace Industries.


In January 2013, Spacecom announced that they had signed a contract with SpaceX for the 2015 launch of the Amos-6 satellite on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle.[1] Amos-6 was intended to replace the Amos-2 satellite, planned to be retired in 2016.[6] During 2015 Spacecom announced the launch date has slipped to the first quarter of 2016, before postponing the launch to mid-2016.[1] A final launch date was set for 3 September 2016.[7]

Under the deal with Spacecom, state-owned IAI, flagship of Israel's defense industry, was contracted to build Amos-6 and its ground control systems, as well as provide operating services.[5] Spacecom estimated that the cost of launching, insuring and one year's operation of Amos 6 would be $85 million.[8]

The Amos-6 included payload components from various sub-contractors including Canada's MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, which built the communications payload, and Thales Alenia Space ETCA for the electric propulsion. The satellite "[incorporated] new technologies that represent a significant leap forward in the capabilities of IAI and the state of Israel in space," according to IAI's president and chief executive, Joseph Weiss.[5]

Lease to external customers[edit]

In October 2015, social media company Facebook and satellite fleet operator Eutelsat agreed to pay Spacecom $95 million over a period of about five years for the lease of the Ka-band spot-beam broadband capacity—36 regional spotbeams with a throughput of about 18 Gbit/s—on Amos-6 to provide service for Facebook’s and a new Eutelsat subsidiary focusing on African businesses.[1] Costs would be divided in approximately equal shares between Eutelsat and Facebook.[9] The parties agreed to the right to terminate the contract if Amos-6 and the ground gateways in France, Italy and Israel were not ready for service by 1 January 2017. The lease was for the use of the satellite until September 2021, with an option for a two-year extension at a reduced rate.[1][9]

After a technical analysis, including an assessment of customer power requirements, Facebook and Eutelsat concluded that only 18 out of the 36 Ka-band spot beams could be used simultaneously without sacrificing user experience.[9]


On 1 September 2016, the Falcon 9 launch vehicle suffered an anomaly during fuel loading for a routine static fire test that destroyed the vehicle and its AMOS-6 payload.[4] The explosion started near the upper stage LOx (Liquid oxygen) tank. Because the satellite was destroyed prior to the launch, the cost of the satellite is not covered by Spacecom's insurance policy, but rather by the manufacturer, IAI. IAI has its own insurance, and will file a claim in order to compensate Spacecom. Spacecom's contract with SpaceX specifies Spacecom can choose to receive $50 million, or a future flight at no cost.[10][11]

A number of serious theories as to the cause of the anomaly had been put forward by industry technical experts by mid-October. Most deal with issues in and around the carbon-fiber composite-overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) that is used to hold the 34,000–38,000 kPa (5,000–5,500 psi)-helium tank that contains the pressurant used to provide LOX propellant tank pressure during launch. as of 16 October 2016, the formal accident investigation board has not yet released its findings.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e Peter B. de Selding (6 October 2015). "Facebook, Eutelsat To Pay Spacecom $95M for Ka-band Lease". Spacenews. Retrieved 10 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has successfully launched Spacecom's AMOS-4". IAI. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  3. ^ Barbara Opall-Rome (12 October 2015). "IAI Develops Small, Electric-Powered COMSAT". DefenseNews. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Malik, Tariq (1 September 2016). "Launchpad Explosion Destroys SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket, Satellite in Florida". Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d "IAI to launch new 5-ton Amos satellite". Space Media Network. UPI. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  6. ^ Money, Stewart (30 January 2013). "SpaceX Wins New Commercial Launch Order". Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. Spaceflight Now Inc. 28 Aug 2016. Archived from the original on 28 Aug 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  8. ^ Levy, Aviv (24 June 2012). "Spacecom to build $200m Amos 6 satellite". Globes [online], Israel business news. Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. Archived from the original on 1 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c de Selding, Peter B. (9 October 2015). "Facebook-Eutelsat Internet Deal Leaves Industry Awaiting Encore". SpaceNews. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  10. ^ Cohen, Nitzan (September 4, 2016). "Spacecom to claim Amos 6 compensation from IAI". Globes. 
  11. ^ ANALYSIS | How SpaceX’s spectacular pre-flight failure fueled a jump in hasty conclusions, SpaceNews, Jeff Foust, 6 September 2016.
  12. ^

External links[edit]