ABS, short for Asia Broadcast Satellite, is a Bermuda-based operator of communication satellites. Its services include satellite-to-home and satellite-to-cable TV distribution, cellular services, and internet services. The company established telecommunications networks in Africa, Russia, Asia and the Middle East. The service currently covers 80% of the population in the Americas, Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and Commonwealth of Independent States. The company aims to expand their satellite fleet by two, from six communication satellites to eight satellites, in 2015. As of March 2015, one of the two planned satellites has launched, and is currently moving to the target orbit.
ABS was recognized by the Export-Import Bank of the United States for the purchase of two all-electric satellites and one satellite utilizing conventional propellant using the bank's loans, which created "an estimated 3,700 high tech jobs," according to the bank. As of September 2015, all but one of the satellites funded is operational.
ABS was founded in 2005 and acquired its first satellite, a Lockheed Martin 3000 satellite, in 2006, from another satellite operator.
On November 2009, ABS and Eutelsat agreed to cooperate at the 75° East orbital position. In the agreement, the ABS-1 and ABS-1A satellites would remain in their orbital position, while one Eutelsat satellite was maneuvered into a nearby position at the same orbital longitude. The purpose for the agreement was to "greatly benefit the customers of both Eutelsat and ABS who have been seeking expansion capacity in these regions", according to a press release from ABS.
In September 2010, Permira, a global private equity fund, acquired ABS for $200 million.
ABS then found funding from the Export-Import Bank of the United States to build three new satellites for their network.
By January 2015, ABS operated a fleet of six satellites.
On March 2, 2015, the seventh satellite for ABS was launched. Called ABS-3A, it was the first all-electric commercial satellite and launched on a Falcon 9 alongside Eutelsat 115 West B, operated by Eutelsat. On 15 June 2016 ABS launched its second all-electric satellite, ABS-2A and with a Eutelsat satellite, on Falcon 9 Flight 26.
ABS operates a fleet of six satellites. Satellites are based off the Lockheed Martin, Space Systems/Loral, and recently, Boeing Space Systems satellite bus.
According to CEO Tom Choi in an interview with Via Satellite, ABS chose electric satellites to save mass, which allows for satellite dual launches: "Because of the all-electric thrusters, we are able to save more than 2,000 kg of bi-prop which allows us to put more payload on the spacecraft as well as the advantage of launching two satellites on a Falcon 9." Additionally, he claimed that working with Boeing for a low-mass satellite platform would allow them to catch up to their competitors.
One satellite, ABS-3A, is currently in transit to the targeted geostationary orbit. It is notable for being the first commercial satellite to use fully Electrically powered spacecraft propulsion for orbit raising and station keeping. ABS-2A, the second all-electric satellite in ABS's fleet, is planned for launch in late 2015.
The company has focused on the 75° East orbital position, which allows for good coverage over the majority of the world's population. ABS-1, ABS's first satellite, was positioned in that orbital slot. Recently, the company has expanded into nearby regions, such as 67° East, while moving away from the 75° East orbital position.
ABS has one future satellite, ABS-2A, scheduled for launch, which is based on the Boeing 702SP satellite platform, the same platform as ABS-3A. The satellite is funded by a US Ex-Im bank loan to expand high-tech US jobs; the loan also funded the operational ABS-3A satellite. ABS-2A is scheduled for launch in June 2016.