back to article SpaceX gives free ride to replacement for Facebook's fried satellite

Spacecom and SpaceX have settled their differences over a burned satellite. The Israeli company has once again signed Elon Musk's company for launch services. Spacecom has told the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange it expects to use SpaceX for a launch in 2019, and possibly a further launch in 2020. Their relationship looked doomed …

  1. frank ly

    Foresight

    "Spacecom demanded at least a free ride by way of compensation, ..."

    Isn't this situation covered by the contracts and insurance?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Foresight

      Spacecom paid for a ride, but it rode roughshod over their poor satellite instead. So a future ride isn't "free," it's what's owed them.

    2. Ian47
      Alien

      Re: Foresight

      You'd think so wouldn't you. But that doesn't create headlines. "Company A calls for rebate based on contract in place with Company B". Headlines would make you think that business is done over a beer and a handshake at the pub for things of this magnitude.

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Foresight

      The explosion happened while loading propellants before the static test fire before launch. As no intentional ignition had been triggered the bill for replacing the payload landed on Israel Aerospace Industries' insurer. AFAIK the exact details of the contract between Spacecom and SpaceX have not been released. Both lost plenty, and presumably each had some kind of insurance but apparently not enough to cover everything that burned on SLC40.

      (The next launch is on the 30th. Falcon heavy demo has been delayed from "November" until "late 2017". The rocket is ready, but launch pad 39a isn't in part because it has been needed for launches while SLC40 gets repaired.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Foresight

        It probably is in the contracts that if they mess up you get your next ride free but lets be honest if you were an investor in a space start up and knew every mistake was going to cost you another rocket you wouldn't be that inclined to invest.

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Foresight

      As Flocke Kroes says, the issue here is that it's wasn't a launch accident (which is covered by insurance), it was something that happened before launch, so the insurance got tricky.

      Still, it's good to know that all insurance companies are bastards, whether you're insuring your car or a space rocket.

    5. Brangdon

      Re: Foresight

      At the time it was said that the contract gave SpaceCom the option of either a free launch, or $50m to go towards a launch with another provider. It now sounds like that $50m was actually a deposit, so they would have been getting their own money back. The normal list price for a SpaceX launch is $62m, so I guess they've saved $12m or so. (Offset against the cost of renting space from someone else's satellite until their new bird gets up.) The insurer carried the loss of the satellite, and SpaceX carried the loss of vehicle and damage to pad.

  2. PhilipN Silver badge

    Bottom of the class

    Write 100 times :

    “I must not split infinitives.”

    “...also to pay....”!!

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Bottom of the class

      It has been perfectly acceptable to blatantly split infinitives for ages. It will do you no good to plaintively whine. People will continue to repeatedly use them just to gently wind you up.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Bottom of the class

        It's to be expected, but it's not elegant and it is best to avoid it.

        1. EddieD
          1. Nifty Silver badge

            Re: Bottom of the class

            I wouldn't boldly go there.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        "It has been perfectly acceptable to blatantly split infinitives for ages."

        Especially to boldly go somewhere in space....

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Bottom of the class

      inifit ives

    3. DropBear
      Devil

      Re: Bottom of the class

      Hey - if you want to eradicate "erroneous thinking", I heard China is hiring...

    4. trclark81

      Re: Bottom of the class

      "Write 100 times :

      “I must not split infinitives.”"

      Most English style and usage guides as well as dictionaries no longer require, and in some cases don't even mention, the split infinitive "rule". It was an attempt in the 1800's to make English behave like Latin. And as any kid who's been scolded for using a split infinitive can tell you, it didn't make any sense for English. For the past 20-30 years or so, avoiding split infinitives has only been necessary to get articles published in certain media outlets and to avoid the ire of people who ally themselves with long-dead proscriptive grammarians with a Latin fetish. It's not a rule so much as a grammatical wrong long overdue for righting.

  3. Tromos
    Joke

    As Robert Heinlein once (nearly) said...

    ...There's no such thing as a free launch

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: As Robert Heinlein once (nearly) said...

      But feel free to get my used launch(er)....

    2. Richard Boyce

      Re: As Robert Heinlein once (nearly) said...

      Will Mars be a harsh master?

  4. Timbo

    I fear that the comment:

    "If all goes well, a reused Falcon 9 will hoist AMOS-6's replacement, AMOS-8, in 2020."

    may well come back to haunt them...

    Of course, I am hopeful that all goes well, but it might take a bit of persuasion with the insurers if a similar problem arises (that causes the loss of another satellite):

    "You've LOST another satellite? - and it was on a second-hand rocket ??"

    (And yes I'm mindful that re-furbished Falcon's have been cleared to be re-used).

    1. Blofeld's Cat
      Coat

      Weasel words...

      "... it was on a second-hand rocket ..."

      Hang on I'll give the legal weasel a prod...

      LW: "No, no Mr Insurer you misunderstand. We were so keen to ensure your client's launch was a success, that we fully tested the first stage by launching another satellite with it."

      1. trclark81

        Re: Weasel words...

        "No, no Mr Insurer you misunderstand. We were so keen to ensure your client's launch was a success, that we fully tested the first stage by launching another satellite with it."

        As amusing as that is, insurers thus far haven't inflated the premiums for re-flown Falcon 9 first stages. The fact that no additional charge is being applied is actually being seen as a pretty significant thumbs up from the insurers on the idea.

  5. Florida1920
    Coat

    Burning question

    As the reusable launcher returns to earth, does the odometer turn backwards?

    The one with the Zippo in the pocket.

  6. Nolveys

    Reuse After Fecebook

    I wonder if they will bother trying to recover the used stage 1 after launching the Facebook satellite. Even if they successfully land the thing they will never get the smell out.

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