Satellite broadband operator ViaSat of California has awarded the launch contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its Falcon-9 rocket. Our headline says “wins” because reportedly France’s Arianespace declined to bid for the contract, with sources suggesting that there’s no launch capacity available until 2017. ViaSat wanted a mid-2016 launch.
ViaSat has a total of more than 630,000 subscribers using ether its ViaSat-1 craft or WildBlue satellite. The upcoming ViaSat-2 will create extra capacity for growth, especially in terms of services ‘direct-to-aircraft’ seats. ViaSat has contracts in place with United Airlines and JetBlue.
ViaSat-2 is also a giant beast and will weigh in at some 6,740 kgs, making it one of the heaviest-ever satellites launched by commercial operators.