by Nick Chilelli, SVP Space Segment
ABS today marks the 10-year anniversary of a key milestone in the growth of the ABS fleet. On February 6, 2014, ABS-2 became our sixth spacecraft in-orbit and our first purpose-built satellite with its launch on an Ariane-5 ECA rocket from Korou, French Guiana. Liftoff occurred at 4:20pm ET after an hour delay for weather, and Arianespace’s mission VA217 carrying ABS-2 and co-passenger Athena-Fidus was even photographed by NASA astronaut Rick Mastraccio on the International Space Station.
ABS-2 reached its orbital position at 75°E and entered service a month later. The Maxar LS1300 bus provides 51 Ku-Band, 32 C-Band, and 6 Ka-Band transponders over 10 beams covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Northern Asia, South-East Asia, and Indonesia. At 6330kg launch mass with 16.7kW of power at end of life, ABS-2 is still our largest, most powerful, and most capable satellite.
ABS-2 was the first of three new satellites in our rapid fleet expansion that was financed by the US Import-Export bank and received the 2014 Ex-Im “Deal of the Year” Award. ABS-2 was joined by ABS-2A at the prime 75°E orbital location three years later, completing that expansion. With an expected life of over 15 years, ABS-2 will continue to provide DTH, data and telecommunication network, IP-trunking, and cellular backhaul services for our customers for years to come.