Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) is ready to put to work its latest satellite ABS-2 craft, successfully launched on February 6th aboard an Ariane rocket.
The huge satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral, will undergo in-orbit testing over the next few weeks, but its giant solar panels were successfully deployed this past weekend en-route to its designated orbital position at 75 degrees East. ABS also has satellites at 3 degrees West, 75 degrees East and 116 degrees East, but this latest addition to the fleet adds a massive 89 transponders in a mix of Ku, C, and Ka-bands.
In essence the satellite’s footprints cover Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Russia/CIS regions. However, ABS is targeting further growth with two additional satellites (ABS-3A later this year and ABS 2A due in 2015) which will replace, expand and back-up the 75 deg East spot. The overall intention is to expand coverage so that ABS becomes a near-Global operator (other than North America).
Mohammed Youssif, COO at ABS, says that the new satellite will absorb existing clients from 75 deg East and be 60 per cent full at that point. Speaking to trade magazine Middle East Production following the launch, Youssif said: “We’re then going to take the two satellites and move them to different locations, and open new orbital locations. This will then give us six operational satellites, and in the next 18 months we will have two more satellite launches. One scheduled for the end of this year and one for six months after,” he added.