Israel’s Spacecom Enlists ILS To Launch Amos 4 Satellite

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PARIS — Israeli satellite fleet operator Spacecom has contracted with International Launch Services (ILS) for the launch of the Amos 4 telecommunications satellite in late 2012 or early 2013 aboard an ILS Proton M/Breeze M rocket, industry officials said.

Officials from Tel Aviv-based Spacecom and Reston, Va.-based ILS declined to comment, but industry officials said a contract for the launch of the 4,500-kilogram Amos 4 has been signed and that the satellite will ride solo aboard the Proton vehicle, operated from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Amos 4 will be operated at 65 degrees east in geostationary orbit and is part of Spacecom’s aggressive plans to grow its business. The company has scheduled the launch of its Amos 5 satellite, built by ISS Reshetnev of Russia and Thales Alenia Space of France, aboard a Proton vehicle in December. Amos 5 will share a ride with a Russian Luch data relay satellite.

Spacecom also is preparing a competition for the launch of an Amos 6 satellite. Omri Arnon, Spacecom’s vice president for strategy, said the Amos 6 satellite procurement would be competitive, with no special treatment given to Israel Aerospace Industries, Israel’s principal satellite builder and a Spacecom shareholder.

Arnon said Spacecom plans to place a Ka-band payload on Amos 6 in addition to Ku- and C-band. Amos 6 will replace Amos 2 at Spacecom’s core 4 degrees west orbital slot. Amos 2 could be launched in 2014 or early 2015, at which time Amos 2 would have at least two more years of three-axis-stabilized operations remaining. Spacecom is weighing alternatives for where to operate Amos 2 once Amos 6 is operational, Arnon said.