Posted inCommercial

Shares in some satellite companies fall after Falcon 9 explosion

Launch of Iridium's second-generation constellation will start on Sept. 19 aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, a week later than planned, with the second launch automatically pushed to late December. Credit: Iridium

WASHINGTON — Shares in some satellite operators who were customers of SpaceX fell sharply Sept. 1 after a Falcon 9 rocket was destroyed in a launch pad incident.

Hardest hit was Israeli operator Spacecom, whose Amos-6 satellite, slated for launch Sept. 3, was destroyed in the explosion. Shares in the company dropped more than nine percent near the end of the trading day at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, but rebounded slightly in after-hours trading.

Spacecom share price on Sept. 1. Credit: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
Spacecom share price on Sept. 1. Credit: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Credit: Tel Aviv Stock Exchange

Shares in Iridium, who was scheduled to launch its first ten Iridium Next satellites on a Falcon 9 later in September, also fell in trading on the Nasdaq exchange. Shares initially fell nearly five percent in early trading, minutes after the pad incident. Shared rebounded slightly before falling again later in the morning, hitting new lows by midday.

Iridium share prices midday Sept. 1. Credit: Nasdaq
Iridium share prices midday Sept. 1. Credit: Nasdaq Credit: Nasdaq

SES, which had hoped to launch its SES-10 and SES-11 satellites on Falcon 9 launches before the end of the year, saw its share price decline late in day on the Euronext exchange after the explosion. However, shares still closed higher for the day based on gains earlier in the day.

SES share prices Sept. 1. Credit: Euronext
SES share prices Sept. 1. Credit: Euronext Credit: Euronext

Another SpaceX customer, EchoStar, has not been adversely affected by the Falcon 9 explosion. Shares in the company were up more than one percent in midday trading on Nasdaq. EchoStar had planned to launch its EchoStar-23 satellite on a Falcon 9 as soon as October, and was partnered with SES on the SES-11 satellite.

EchoStar share prices on Sept. 1. Credit: Nasdaq
EchoStar share prices on Sept. 1. Credit: Nasdaq Credit: Nasdaq

Facebook, the social networking company that leased capacity on Amos-6 satellite to provide Internet access to regions of sub-Saharan Africa, fell slightly in early trading on Nasdaq, but rose later in the morning and, at midday, were up slightly for the day overall.

Facebook share prices on Sept. 1. Credit: Nasdaq
Facebook share prices on Sept. 1. Credit: Nasdaq Credit: Nasdaq

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree...