ABS Files $214 Million Insurance Claim for Bad Satellite Beam

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PARIS — The failure of a key Russia-directed satellite beam aboard the ABS-2 satellite launched in February will result in an insurance claim of up to $214 million, an unusually large sum for a single beam that reflects its importance for the satellite’s owners, industry officials said.

ABS-2, built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California, suffered an unexplained anomaly on its Russian beam this past summer. At the time, Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) said it was only a partial failure of the beam, and that the rest of the satellite was operating normally.

The company, which operates a fleet of satellites, said it had restored customer services. ABS-2A, which like ABS-2 will operate at 75 degrees east in geostationary orbit, is scheduled for launch in 2015. But industry officials said since then that the entire beam is affected to varying degrees.

The Russia beam is partly owned by GT Satellite Systems S.A. of Moscow and Luxembourg, which in 2011 contracted with ABS to book a large portion of the Russia beam in a deal valued at $125 million by both companies. GT Satellite Systems leases capacity on a half-dozen satellites, most of them operated for customers in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

ABS-2 carries 89 transponders — 51 in Ku-band, 32 C-band and six Ka-band — and is designed to provide 16.7 kilowatts of power to its payload. The satellite has 10 separate beams.

ABS Chief Executive Thomas Choi declined to comment on the anomaly, saying the company is in negotiations with insurers. GT Satellite Systems did not respond to requests for comment.