The first of the ViaSat-3 satellites reached a major milestone with completion of payload integration and performance testing. The satellite payload shipped to Boeing Satellite Systems in El Segundo, CA for bus integration. The fully assembled satellite will then undergo a complete series of environmental testing to simulate the rigors of launch and operation in the harsh environment of space. Launch is targeted for early calendar year 2022.
This is an incredibly exciting time for Viasat as the first of the three high-powered ViaSat-3 satellites in our global constellation enters the final stages of production. Once complete, we will be ready to put the world’s highest-capacity single satellite into geostationary orbit to serve the world by delivering broadband to the hardest-to-reach areas anywhere — on the ground, in the air and at sea.– Dave Ryan, president, Viasat Space & Commercial Networks
Each ViaSat-3 satellite is expected to generate over 20kW of payload power, making it among the highest-power commercial satellites ever built. The constellation of three satellites will cover nearly the entire globe, notably leaving polar regions without coverage. Each satellite is planned to deliver more than 1 terabit per second of capacity, with an expected lifespan of 15+ years.
The ViaSat-3 constellation is anticipated to have roughly eight times more capacity than Viasat’s current fleet combined. Viasat sees this as key for delivering the vast amounts of bandwidth needed to address increased demand for high speed internet access, particularly around video streaming use cases.
During the company’s February earnings call CEO Rick Baldridge anticipated this handover would occur “in a few weeks.” While obviously later than hoped, it should not affect the overall planned launch timing.
Once the satellite does launch the transfer to orbit and activation is expected to be quick. The company expects just a month for raising it into geosynchronous position, much quicker than the ViaSat-2 launch.
And while there will be extensive testing lasting several months before significant customer loads transition on to the new satellite the overall pacing to get all three in service is not too delayed. The second satellite is still expected to launch 5-6 months after the first. And the third is now “maybe a little closer than it was before behind the second one,” leading to a full constellation of global coverage in orbit by 2023.
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