ABS-2 satellite loss?

Reports are emerging that ABS-2, the new satellite operated by Asia Broadcast Satellite, is subject to a $200 million insurance claim, and that the claim will be based on an ‘in orbit” failure having occurred within one year of launch. ABS-2 operates from 75 degrees East.

ABS-2 was launched back in February. Built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), it was launched successfully on an Ariane 5 rocket, but problems quickly emerged.

Advanced-Television.com reported on July 29 that one of the broadcast clients on ABS-2 (ISP Alliance of Vladivostok) had lost its signals aboard ABS-2, and this impacted about 50 major channels, including Sony, Sci-Fi, National Geographic Сhannel, Fox life, Fashion TV, Eurosport, Discovery Channel, Da Vinci Learning, Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, Comedy TV, RU TV, Viasat Explorer, Viasat Nature, Viasat Sport, Viasat History, Extreme sports, Nat Geo Wild and others.

ABS later confirmed that it had suffered an anomaly on one of its powerful Ku-band beams, and was working to determine the cause of the problem with SS/L.

“Last week, the ABS-2 satellite experienced an anomaly on its Russia Ku-band beam affecting a limited number of transponders,” ABS said in a statement. “This resulted in an interruption of some services, which we are working to restore with SS/L. No other beams were impacted and the satellite is otherwise operating normally.”

However, the August 4 statement continued by saying: “The anomaly on the Russian beam affected some channels more severely than others but we were able to restore most of the traffic and the satellite is providing good downlink power. ABS-2A is a backup and expansion satellite to ABS-2 so we will insure in orbit redundancy and continuity of the business at 75°E.” ABS-2A is scheduled for launch in late 2015.”

The original manifest on the satellite includes 51 Ku-band transponders, 32 in C-band and 6 Ka-band transponders.

Any satellite failure is bad news for all concerned, but if ABS-2 is handicapped then it is especially tough news for ABS which was well on track to be a major force in the industry, and had major expansion plans.

A back-up satellite is scheduled for launch later in 2015.

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