Israel's Spacecom begins operating Amos-7 satellite

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s Space Communications has begun operating a new communications satellite, Amos-7, it said on Monday, a major milestone after it lost two satellites in the past two years.

Amos-7 will replace the aging Amos-2 and provide service to clients in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This was one of the tasks meant to be carried out by the Amos-6 satellite that was destroyed last September in Florida when a SpaceX launcher exploded.

Spacecom had lost contact with another of its satellites in 2015.

Amos-7 is the first addition to Spacecom’s fleet since the Florida explosion. It has been in orbit since 2014 and was obtained in an agreement with Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings at a cost of $22 million a year for four years, with an option to extend for an additional year.

“The satellite is a key element in expanding our multi-regional growth patterns and enhancing the array of communications – broadcast, broadband and data – that we can provide,” said senior vice president of sales Jacob Keret.

Spacecom has also announced it was buying a satellite from Boeing Satellite Systems International for $161 million.

Israel’s Eurocom Holdings owns 64 percent of Spacecom, whose shares were up 2.7 percent in afternoon trading in Tel Aviv but are down some 37 percent since Amos-6 was destroyed.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Mark Potter