A day after Israel’s Amos-6 communications satellite was lost in a highly unusual explosion/fast fire of the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral, some Israel aerospace experts are beginning to suspect sabotage. Pending an investigation in which NASA ad the US Air Force will be taking part, they are not making their suspicions public.
An explosion or fire occurring during a standard pre-launch static test - before the engine ignited - may be unique. Israeli experts cannot recall any space satellite disasters happening at that stage.
THIS IS THE OFFICIAL VIDEO RECORD OF THE EXPLOSION. NOTE THE OFFICAL STATEMENT AT 0:24. THE EXPLOSION OCCURS AT 1:10. THE ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
Immediately after the event, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said an “anomaly happened around the upper-stage oxygen tank wile propellant was being loaded into the vehicle.”
Two days later, Saturday, Sept. 3, Musk attributed the loss to a “fast fire” rather than an explosion.
Spacecom, owned by Israeli Eurocom and Israeli Aerospace Industry, manufactured the Amos 6; it is their largest satellite to date. Spacecom representatives don’t expect to be invited to take part in the investigation.
They also resent Elon Musk’s reference to an “anomaly,” something they regard as a euphemism to disguise the cause of the mishap.
American experts are speculating about a large, black unidentified object picked up by video footage. It was seen hovering in the sky at the moment the fireball rose over the Cape Canaveral launching pad.
Some are suggesting it was a large bird that happened to be flying past. Others say it is much too big, and too fast, for any known bird.
In Israel, some informed sources suggest that the reason for the Amos 6 satellites destruction is far from technical and may never come to light.
They cite the only previous SpaceX failure. It occurred in June, 2015, when a Falcon 9 rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded just a few minutes after launch. The company set up an inquiry team composed of 11 staff members and one FAA official, but never released details of its findings.
Three causes for the Amos 6 loss are postulated by Israeli sources:
1. Stiff competition among companies of the eight nations that manufacture satellites. The last in the Amos series of communications satellites, produced at a cost of $200 million, was the most sophisticated produced so far. Some international competitor may have decided to push Israel out of the contest by destroying its newest product. In fact, the explosion is a set-back for Israel’s satellite industry that may take years to recover.
2. Another motive may be connected with the fact that Amos 6 was to be Facebook’s first satellite. CEO Mark Zuckerberg had announced that Amos 6, scheduled for launch into geostationary orbit on 3 September, would have opened large parts of sub-Saharan Africa to direct internet.
Its loss has forced Zuckerberg to put his plan on hold. Zuckerberg's plan went well with the largely covert Israel drive in the last three years to expand its ties across the Africa. The Facebook project fitted well with this policy; it also added a dimension with pizzazz.
3. Finally, Spacom had just signed a $285 sale contract with Beijing Xinwei Technology. The contract was contingent on its successful launch into orbit of Amos 6. One of Israel’s competitors may have been after the Chinese contract.
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by DEBKAfile at http://debka.com/article/25649/Was-Israel%E2%80%99s-satellite-sabotaged-on-US-rocket-pad-