Launch scheduled for Aug. 6; Advanced satellite from Israel will replace Amos-16, to provide communications mainly to Africa; Sapcecom: Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete— team is now working toward August 6 for the launch of AMOS-17 from Pad 40 in Florida, pending Range availability.

Israel is set to launch the AMOS-17 satellite into space on August 6 from Florida. Space Communication Ltd., better known as “Spacecom” will launch its latest satellite into orbit on the Falcon-9 launch vehicle by SpaceX. The latest satellite will replace the Amos-16 which exploded in August of 2016.

The satellite is expected to position itself “at 17 degrees East where it will reach across the African continent, along with the Middle East and Africa,” where will be used predominantly to provide communication services to Africa.

Spacecom boasted that it would be the “most advanced high-throughput satellite to provide satellite communication services to Africa,” with a life expectancy of 15 years. The Sub-Sahara project is a “state-of-the-art multi-band high-throughput satellite, utilizing Boeing’s advanced digital processor platform, that will provide reliable and flexible satellite solutions and offer a significant competitive advantage for our customers.” The satellite also includes a digital platform “with the mix of fixed and steerable beams [that] ensures fast response.” The company claims it already has $58 million in orders from Africa.

Spacecom confirmed the launch this week, taking to Twitter stating “Static fire test of Falcon 9 complete – the team is now working toward August 6 for the launch of AMOS-17 from Pad 40 in Florida, pending Range availability.”

Spacecom currently operates the Amos 3, Amos 4, and Amos 7 satellites. The AMOS-17 weighs 6.5 tons, is 115 feet long and cost $250 million to produce.

This is the second major launch for Israel this year. In April, Beresheet (meaning Genesis), Israel’s first spacecraft to the Moon, failed to land. During the last 14 minutes of the mission, one of the engines was damaged, and communication lost just minutes before the historic landing. While the mission was not successful, it placed Israel in history as the 7th country to complete a lunar orbit following the USA, EU, former USSR, Japan, China, and India.