Transponder Problem Hobbles Recently Launched ABS-2 Satellite

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UPDATED Aug. 6 at 1:45 p.m. EDT

PONTE VEDRA, Florida — The large ABS-2 triple-band satellite launched in February for satellite fleet operator ABS of Bermuda has suffered a failure on one of its Ku-band beams, shutting down some services, ABS said Aug 5.

In response to SpaceNews inquiries, ABS said it is working with ABS-2 builder Space Systems/Loral (SSL) of Palo Alto, California, to determine the cause of the problem and the eventual remedial action to be taken including the restoration of the lost capacity, which is delivered via the affected beam over Russia.

“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.

“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.

ABS-2, located at ABS’s core 75 degrees east orbital slot, is the first satellite designed and built for ABS, which has stitched together the rest of its six-satellite fleet through acquisitions of spacecraft already in orbit from their owners. ABS has two satellites under construction and scheduled for launch starting in 2015.

ABS-2 is designed to operate for 15 years and to deliver 16.7 kilowatts of power to its payload, which includes 51 Ku-band transponders, 32 C-band transponders and six Ku-band transponders.