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

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 1:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 10:14pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

SpaceX is a private company run by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is also chief executive of Tesla Motors and chairman of 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 US$10 billion.