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After explosion, SpaceX satellite customer says it’s due $50 million or a free ride

SpaceX explosion
Fire burning on a launch pad after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded during a test firing in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Sept. 3.
(Tia Grant)

The costs of the SpaceX rocket explosion Thursday are starting to roll in.

The customer whose satellite blew up with the rocket, Space Communication Ltd., based in Israel, said in a conference call Sunday that it could seek $50 million or a free flight, according to a Reuters report.

The company also said it could collect $205 million from the satellite’s builder, Israel Aerospace Industries.

Asked for comment, SpaceX said it doesn’t disclose contract or insurance terms.

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The cause of the explosion, which destroyed a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and its payload, is under investigation. Facebook, one of several clients for the satellite’s services, intended to expand Internet service to areas of Africa lacking modern communications infrastructure.

Space Communication had been planning a merger with China’s Beijing Xinwei Technology Group, but that deal is now on hold.

SpaceX is a private company run by entrepreneur Elon Musk, also chief executive at Tesla Motors and chairman at SolarCity.

In a series of prepared statements after the explosion, SpaceX called the incident an “anomaly” and noted it has a 70-mission backlog worth more than $10 billion.

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russ.mitchell@latimes.com

@russ1mitchell

 

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UPDATES:

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11:25 a.m.: This article was updated with SpaceX comment.


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