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December 29, 2003
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Israel successfully launches satellite into space

Israel Insider (www.israelinsider.com) reports that Israel now has two satellites in space:

Amos 2, another Israeli satellite orbits the Earth
The Amos-2 communications satellite was successfully launched into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday night. As the satellite prepared to enter into a geostationary orbit, some 36,000 kilometers above the planet, technicians at the Amos Ground Station near Yehud said all systems seemed to be in perfect working order.

Amos-2 is Israel's second commercial communications satellite and will be located in orbit some four kilometers from its predecessor, Amos-1, which was launched in 1996 and is due to stop operations in 2008. Israel's two other satellites in space are the Eros-A observation satellite and the Ofek-5 reconnaissance satellite, launched in May 2002.

Amos-2, which was manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)'s MBT Space Division, was launched into space on a Russian Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle by Starsem, a European-Russian space launching venture set up in 1996.

I copy the rest of the artcile below.

Israel's second communications satellite enters orbit
By Ellis Shuman December 29, 2003, Link

The Amos-2 communications satellite was successfully launched into orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday night. As the satellite prepared to enter into a geostationary orbit, some 36,000 kilometers above the planet, technicians at the Amos Ground Station near Yehud said all systems seemed to be in perfect working order.

Amos-2 is Israel's second commercial communications satellite and will be located in orbit some four kilometers from its predecessor, Amos-1, which was launched in 1996 and is due to stop operations in 2008. Israel's two other satellites in space are the Eros-A observation satellite and the Ofek-5 reconnaissance satellite, launched in May 2002.

Amos-2, which was manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)'s MBT Space Division, was launched into space on a Russian Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle by Starsem, a European-Russian space launching venture set up in 1996.

According to IAI, Amos-2 will provide a wide range of broadcast and communication services, including Direct To Home (DTH) television distribution, TV distribution to cable companies, distribution of Internet services, and data transmission to communication networks.

The Amos-2 cost some $150 million and investors hope to soon recoup this by selling space on its 14 transponders. The satellite will provide broadcasting services for Israeli and foreign customers in the Middle East and Europe, serving Israeli satellite television company YES as well as U.S. broadcaster HBO in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and the Czech Republic. In addition, Amos-2 will provide access to the east coast of the United States.

"The technicians involved with the launch opened champagne, but we haven't finished yet. We are only at the beginning of the orbit insertion process," Tzvi Kopelman, director for communications satellites at MBT told the Jerusalem Post. "Of course the launch is the critical stage, but there are still risks."

According to Kopelman, Amos-2 has 50 percent more capacity and transmission power than Amos-1. Amos-2 has a dry weight of 680 kg. plus an additional supply of propellant that put its take-off weight at 1,374 kg.

"In Israel, we have ingenious development in both low orbit and communications satellites. We had to concentrate on low weight satellites due to the limited weight we could launch from our own rockets, but they are as capable as the heavy ones made by the U.S.," Kopelman said.

Yitzhak Nissan, deputy CEO of Israeli Aircraft Industries and the director of the space and missile division that oversaw production of the satellite, told Haaretz that 24 hours after the launch, all the satellite's systems appear to be in perfect working order.

Jacob Keret, VP marketing at Spacecom, which owns the Amos 2, told Globes that the company was completely satisfied with the satellite's launch and operation in space. "The project is progressing as planned," Keret said. "We expect commercial operations to begin shortly. For the first time, we'll be able to provide satellite broadcasting in North America, in addition to Europe and the Middle East."

Posted by David Melle at December 29, 2003 03:02 PM
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