One of the three ViaSat-3 satellites was planned for a launch on the Ariane 5 rocket from Arianespace. That will no longer happen. Instead, the two companies agreed to convert the launch to the new Ariane A64 rocket. The ViaSat-3 satellite will be the first commercial payload for the new rocket configuration.
The A64 launch vehicle will feature a modular configuration based on core stages powered by lower and upper liquid propellant modules. This is supplemented by four solid rocket motors. Most notable for Viasat, the A64 configuration delivers increased performance for the size of the payload, allowing it to deliver the ViaSat-3 satellite into a higher geostationary transfer orbit. Ultimately this reduces the orbit raising time and allows it to enter operational service more quickly.
We were honored that Viasat initially chose Arianespace for one of its ViaSat-3 launches, and has now evolved the program, enabling them to be the first commercial launch customer to commit to fly on our powerful Ariane 64 launcher. By moving to the A64 vehicle, we are confident we will demonstrate next-generation market adaptability—one that responds better to customer needs.– Arianespace Chief Executive Officer, Stéphane Israël
Viasat has still not announced which of the three satellites will launch with each of the three launch partners. The company contracted with SpaceX for a Falcon Heavy launch and with ULA for an Atlas V launch of the other two satellites in the ViaSat-3 constellation.
We have a long-standing partnership with Arianespace, and trust their A64 launcher will allow Viasat to meet key business objectives, which include bringing high-speed, high-quality broadband connectivity to end-users, worldwide. The A64 vehicle is a highly competitive launcher, and incorporates key features to ensure a more cost-effective, dependable ViaSat-3 spacecraft launch.-Dave Ryan, president, Space and Commercial Networks at Viasat
The first of the ViaSat-3 satellites is expected to launch in late 2021 with the second following approximately six months later. The third, providing service in the Asia-Pacific region, is expected to launch a year or so after that.