The launch of the ViaSat-1 Ka-band satellite has been postponed to summer 2011 after the satellite was damaged while being moved during the test process.
The spacecraft, which is based SS/L’s LS-1300 platform and will be located at 115W, was due to be…
The launch of the ViaSat-1 Ka-band satellite has been postponed to the summer of 2011 after the satellite was damaged while being moved during the test process.
The spacecraft, which is based SS/L’s LS-1300 platform and will be located at 115W, was due to be launched by International Launch Services in the first quarter of 2011 but following the accident, SS/L will spend the additional time repairing and further testing the satellite. All costs related to this will be assumed by the manufacturer.
SS/L owns a minority stake in ViaSat-1 having agreed to invest approximately US$60m in the project in return for Canada-facing transponders on the satellite. The satellite manufacturer subsequently pre-sold its entire capacity to Canadian rural broadband provider Barrett Xplore in a deal worth C$262m.
ViaSat-1 is integral to ViaSat’s future business plans as it seeks to roll out its satellite broadband offering across the United States. The company currently offers satellite broadband services to more than 425,000 US customers via its WildBlue division. The additional power of ViaSat-1 will enable it to offer broadband speeds comparable to terrestrial broadband alternatives such as cable modems and DSL connections with a basic service at 2 Mbps compared to 512 kbps. As well as targeting US consumers and small businesses, ViaSat plans to wholesale some of its capacity with around 10% expected to be sold to government users and a further 10% set aside for mobile applications.
ViaSat is also in the early stages of ordering another satellite, ViaSat-2. The company is understood to have sought preliminary technical proposals from manufacturers.