Carlsbad-based communications firm ViaSat has announced that SpaceX will handle the launch of one of its ViaSat-3 satellite missions, scheduled between 2020 and 2022
The launch will use SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, and will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The aim of the mission is to install ViaSat’s ultra-high-speed broadband service, with the Falcon Heavy’s capabilities set to enable the initialisation of the service far more quickly than any other available launch vehicles.
Three satellites are planned, the first being to cover the Americas, the second covering the EMEA region, and the third set to complete ViaSat’s global coverage.
SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell, said in ViaSat’s statement:
“There are exciting opportunities for Falcon Heavy in the market, particularly for customers like Viasat that need direct-injection extremely close to geostationary orbit.”
“We look forward to delivering ViaSat-3 to orbit and helping bring Viasat’s latest technology into service.”
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy was specifically chosen for its ability to carry out a near direct-injection mission, placing the ViaSat-3 satellite close to geostationary orbit and thereby begin in-orbit testing soon after launch.
“Viasat sought a ViaSat-3 launch partner that understood our unique mission requirements: to safely and quickly bring a ViaSat-3 spacecraft into orbit, to further our goal of delivering terabits of data from space to meet growing global broadband demand,” said Dave Ryan, president of Space Systems at Viasat.
“We selected SpaceX as they continue to demonstrate their commitment to advancing space technologies. Their proven technology is both powerful and efficient enough to thrust a ViaSat-3 spacecraft close to geostationary orbit.”