ViaSat-3 is a planned global constellation of three geostationary Ka-band communications satellites, the first of which was launched in 2023 by Viasat, Inc.[1] The satellites are intended to provide broadband connectivity with speeds of 100-plus megabits per second to homes, business and enterprise internet users, commercial, government and business aircraft, as well as government and defense markets, maritime and oceanic enterprises in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.[1]

Satellites Edit

The satellites were first announced in 2015. In February 2016, Viasat announced a partnership with Boeing Satellite Systems.[1] For each of the three ViaSat-3 class satellites, Viasat will build the satellite payload, integrate the payload into the Boeing-provided payload module. Boeing will provide the scalable 702 satellite platform, system integration and test, launch vehicle integration and mission operations services.[2] Each ViaSat-3 satellite payload is being manufactured at Viasat's own manufacturing facility in Tempe, Arizona, using modular structures from Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, California.[3] The satellites are projected to have a total network capacity over 1 terabit per second.[4]

ViaSat-3 consists of three separate satellites, each designed to provide coverage to select global regions: ViaSat-3 (Americas) will cover the Americas; ViaSat-3 (EMEA) will cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and ViaSat-3 (APAC) will cover the Asia-Pacific regions.[3] The ViaSat-3 (Americas) and ViaSat-3 (EMEA) satellites at one time were expected to launch about six months apart starting in 2021, with the ViaSat-3 (APAC) satellite projected to launch in the second half of 2022.[5] However, in February, 2021, ViaSat's CEO announced that the company did not expect to launch the first satellite until early 2022. It would then take several months for the satellite to be in full service, because of necessary testing.[6]

Viasat has three launch contracts, one for each ViaSat-3 class satellite. In 2016, the company announced plans to launch the first satellite with Arianespace on an Ariane 6 rocket. In 2018, Viasat announced that the second one will be launched with United Launch Alliance on an Atlas V, and the third one with SpaceX on the Falcon Heavy.[7][8][9] By 2023, delays to the inaugural Ariane 6 launch prompted Viasat to cancel their contract with Arianespace and seek bids from other companies to launch the ViaSat-3 APAC satellite.[10]

ViaSat-3 Americas launched on 1 May 2023 aboard a Falcon Heavy rocket, which successfully placed it into a near-geosynchronous orbit in the early hours of 1 May at an altitude of approximately 34,600 kilometers. Deployment of the reflector did not take place in the normal way and the satellite's performance may be affected materially.[11][12] Viasat may trigger a $420 million claim, a space insurance underwriter described the situation to CNBC as a “market changing event” for the sector.[13] Viasat suffered its biggest one-day loss in share price following the news.[13]

The ViaSat-3 EMEA satellite is currently scheduled to launch in January 2024 on an Atlas V rocket.[14] The ViaSat-3 APAC satellite is expected to launch in late 2024 on a to-be-determined commercial launch vehicle.[10]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c Sean O'Kane (10 February 2016). "New 1-Terabit internet satellites will deliver high-speed internet to remote areas". The Verge. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  2. ^ Veronica Magan (19 December 2016). "ViaSat, Boeing Complete Preliminary Design Review for ViaSat 3 Satellites". Satellite Today. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b Caleb Henry (19 June 2019). "Supplier issue behind delays with first ViaSat-3 launch". Space News. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  4. ^ "ViaSat 3 Americas, Asia, EMEA". Gunther's Space Page. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  5. ^ Caleb Henry (9 August 2019). "Viasat starts ViaSat-4 development, mulls hybrid GEO-LEO-terrestrial connections". SpaceNews. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Viasat Pushes ViaSat-3 Satellite Launch to 2022 - Via Satellite -". 4 February 2021.
  7. ^ Caleb Henry (8 February 2019). "Viasat orders Asia Pacific ViaSat-3 from Boeing amid record revenue". SpaceNews. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  8. ^ Caleb Henry (25 October 2018). "Viasat books Falcon Heavy for ViaSat-3 launch". SpaceNews. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  9. ^ Caleb Henry (10 September 2018). "Viasat books ULA Atlas 5 for a ViaSat-3 satellite launch". SpaceNews. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  10. ^ a b Clark, Stephen (30 April 2023). "Viasat seeks replacement for Ariane 6 for launch of third ViaSat 3 satellite". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 17 September 2023.
  11. ^ "Viasat Provides Status Update on ViaSat-3 Americas Satellite". 12 July 2023. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  12. ^ Oguh, Chibuike (13 July 2023). "Viasat shares near record daily plunge after satellite fails to deploy". Reuters.
  13. ^ a b Sheetz, Michael (12 July 2023). "Viasat stock plunges after company discloses malfunction in new satellite". CNBC. Retrieved 13 July 2023.
  14. ^ "Atlas V 551 - Viasat-3 EMEA". Next Spaceflight. 4 August 2023. Retrieved 10 August 2023.