Dubbed ‘AMOS-8’, or ‘Affordable Modular Optimised Satellite-8’, it will be the seventh Israeli communications satellite, with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) developing all but one. Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said: “This decision has long-term strategic significance and is relevant to all the critical, existential needs of the State of Israel”. He went on to state that “the development and the production of the satellite in Israel will enable us to maintain complete independence in the field of satellite communication”.
A previous satellite, AMOS-6, was destroyed in a fire during a launch test at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in September 2016. In the case of AMOS-5, contact was lost with the satellite in November 2015.
The decision to fund construction of the satellite came after recommendations by a cross-ministry special committee established after the loss of AMOS-6. IAI director Ofer Doron informed the Knesset Science and Technology Subcommittee on Space Affairs that it would take four years to build the satellite, which will have the lifespan of 15-20 years.