Spacecom bought by Chinese?
Chinese telecommunications company Beijing Xinwei Technology Group is to buy Israeli satellite communications company, Spacecom, for US$190 million, according to Israeli press reports. Spacecom stresses that it has not entered into a definitive agreement.
The Chinese company had originally offered to pay $285 million for the satellite operator but that was prior to the Sept 1st catastrophic loss of its Amos-6 satellite when an engine test-firing of a Falcon 9 rocket went badly wrong.
The new price is some 50 percent more than Spacecom’s market capitalisation ($128m) on the Tel Aviv stock exchange, but one-third less than the original price offered.
The Sept 1 explosion meant that plans to place the Amos-6 satellite into Spacecom’s 4 degrees West orbital position had to be scrubbed. However, last week it emerged that Spacecom had leased a satellite from AsiaSat (AsiaSat-8) and this craft is being moved to the 4 degrees West position.
SpaceX delays. Loses Inmarsat contract
SpaceX will not be able to recommence launches this month. A statement says that the investigation team is finalising its work into its Sept 1st explosion. The company also says that the planned launch of a batch of ten satellites for telecoms company Iridium will not now take place on December 16, and slip into to early January.
As a result of the impact of these delays Inmarsat said Dec 8 that it had switched a launch from SpaceX to Arianespace. The decision also affects Arabsat-owned Hellas-Sat which forms part of the launch’s overall mission (as a ‘Condosat’ with Inmarsat).
Inmarsat says it will use an Ariane-5 heavy lift rocket to launch its ‘European Aviation Network’ S-band satellite, built by Thales Alenia Space in mid-2017. Inmarsat stressed that it still has at least one contract still in place with SpaceX, for its Global Xpress Inmarsat-5 F4 craft, also due for launch in H1/2017.
SpaceX is still waiting for an FCC report on its investigation into a catastrophic explosion which destroyed a rocket and its Israeli-owned Amos-6 satellite on September 1. SpaceX say that once the investigation work is wrapped they will then extensively test “to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance”.