ViaSat-3 moves to mechanical testing
September 30, 2022
By Chris Forrester
Viasat’s latest satellite, the first of the new ViaSat-3 Ka-band class, has completed its integration and is now in ‘flight configuration’ mode. However, the craft now has to be processed through the vibration, environmental and acoustic testing phases.
ViaSat-3 is a huge beast of a satellite. Each of the trio is capable of handling more than 1 Tb/s of network capacity.
During the integration process, the solar arrays, reflectors and other items were attached to the satellite, bringing it to its full, flight configuration for the first time. The satellite’s reflectors will be some of the largest ever sent to space, along with its solar arrays, each featuring eight panels with an overall wingspan of 144 feet, similar in size to that of a Boeing 767 airliner.
“This marks the first time our satellite is in flight configuration which is a huge milestone for our hard-working team and a major step to the deployment of the ViaSat-3 constellation,” said Dave Ryan, president Space & Commercial Networks at Viasat. “This next phase of testing will confirm that our satellite can survive the rigours of launch and begin its mission as planned.”
The ViaSat-3 class of Ka-band satellites is expected to provide the best bandwidth economics in the industry with substantial flexibility to move and concentrate that capacity virtually anywhere there is demand – whether it is on land, in the ocean or in the air.
The first two satellites are planned to focus on the Americas and on EMEA, respectively, and the ViaSat-3 EMEA satellite is still undergoing integration at its spacecraft partner, Boeing. The third ViaSat-3 satellite is now undergoing final payload integration and testing at Viasat’s Tempe, Arizona facility and will focus on the Asia Pacific region, completing Viasat’s global service coverage.
This first ViaSat-3 craft is scheduled for launch later in 2022 and will enter service in 2023.