IAI Selected To Build Spacecom’s Amos 6 Satellite

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UPDATED June 27 12:15 p.m.

PARIS — Israeli satellite fleet operator Spacecom has selected Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) to build the Amos 6 telecommunications satellite under a $200 million contract announced June 24.

The satellite, to be launched in 2014 or 2015 to replace Amos 2 at 4 degrees west, will carry an electronics payload built by Canada’s MDA Corp. under a preliminary agreement expected to lead to a contract valued at about $90 million.

In a statement that suggested how badly IAI wanted this contract — which industry officials said almost went to Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif. — IAI said that “in order to improve the competitiveness of its proposal, IAI has implemented improvements in the engineering and production processes of communications satellites.”

The company said its chief executive, Joseph Weiss, “personally managed the contractual negotiations over the last weeks,” and that the Israel Space Agency will help finance development work needed for Amos 6.

The goal, the company said, is to achieve the same independence in telecommunications satellites as it has with Earth observation satellites.

Finally, IAI said it will participate in the financing of Amos 6 alongside bankers and export-credit agencies of participating contractors.

Richmond, British Columbia-based MDA, which said it has an Authorization to Proceed from IAI to begin work on the payload but not a final contract, did not say whether Canada’s export-credit agency, Export Development Canada, would finance the equivalent of MDA’s share of the project.

Spacecom officials in recent months have said Amos 6 would be bigger than the company’s previous satellites and would carry a total of up to 80 transponders in both Ku- and Ka-band.