Satnews Daily
September 5th, 2016

Israel's Satellite Program Under Investigation (HAARETZ)

The explosion of the SpaceX Falcon launch vehicle that also destroyed the AMOS-6 satellite.

Photo is courtesy of USLaunchReport.

For the past 12 years, Amos Harel has been one of Israel's leading media experts on military and defense issues and he has been the military correspondent and defense analyst for the Israeli publication, HAARETZ, for the last 12 years—he has just published a news piece at the Haaretz infosite entitled "Watchdog Looking Into Israel's Satellite Program." In part, the article reads...

"Based on preliminary findings, the state comptroller believes there are serious long-term planning gaps in the development of satellites in Israel, even before the SpaceX explosion. The State Comptroller’s Office had begun investigating Israel’s satellite communications program a few months ago, even before Thursday’s explosion in Florida that destroyed the AMOS-6 satellite. Based on preliminary findings, the comptroller believes there are serious long-term planning gaps in the development of such satellites in Israel.

"AMOS-6 blew up on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during a test firing of the Falcon 9 rocket, two days before the planned launch of the Israeli satellite. The satellite’s loss is estimated at $200 million. The rocket was owned by SpaceX, which said Friday it is scouring computer and video data for clues about what caused the explosion.

"Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis called in the heads of Israel’s space industry for an emergency meeting on Friday. The destruction of the satellite dealt a major blow to Israel’s space plans. AMOS-6, built by Israel Aerospace Industries and operated by Israeli company Spacecom (in partnership with France’s Eutelsat Communications), was set to provide services to Israeli telecom networks and to be part of Facebook’s platform, to expand internet access to remote areas. It was meant to be operational for the next 16 years.

"The state comptroller’s investigation into Israel’s satellite communications is being led by its security division, under Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Beinhorn. Although most of the satellite program’s goals are civilian, many of the satellite projects are in the hands of Israel Aerospace Industries, which is considered a defense company and therefore scrutinized by the security division of the State Comptroller’s Office.

"The explosion of AMOS-6 illustrates the gaps in Israel’s space policy, which does not include long-term planning for the development of additional satellites. At this point, resources have not been earmarked, and development has not begun on the next satellite in the series. The unexpected loss of AMOS-6 could now set back Israeli plans for a long time."

To read the remainder of Harel's informative article, please access this direct link...