Advanced Television

ViaSat-3 launch slips, with consequences

November 3, 2022

By Chris Forrester

ViaSat-3, the first of a trio of massive broadband satellites for the California-based operator, has slipped its expected launch date. SpaceX, which is launching the craft on one of its Falcon Heavy rockets, now says that the launch cannot happen before December 27th.

The Kennedy Space Centre has published its anticipated launch schedule for December and states the launch date as December 31st.

However, this places Indonesia’s small Nusantara-H1-A satellite into a dangerous situation. The Indonesian satellite is a co-passenger on the SpaceX rocket. Back in June Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications & Informatics managed to gain a ‘Bringing into Use’ extension from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to December 31st.

That now seems impossible, and consequently the Indonesian’s have again gone to the ITU requesting a further extension to March 31st 2023 in order for the satellite to be manoeuvred to its correct orbital position.

There are reportedly further knock-on consequences affecting Indonesia’s customer. The satellite is contracted to be leased by Indonesia telecom operator PT Sarana Mukti Adijaya (SMA). It provides a range of satellite-based solutions including teleport and data centre leasing, data and telecoms services, broadcast and VSAT.

SMA has leased the Indonesian satellite for a period of 91 days which will then establish its rights to the 116.1 degrees East orbital slot and where it wants to place a much larger satellite.

Gravity Space., which built the Indonesian craft, say that its on-board electric thrusters could take anything from three to eight months to arrive at the 116.1 East position. Gravity Space still talks on its corporate web-site of the Indonesian satellite being in position during Q3/2022 having launched “on a Falcon Heavy rocket in July 2022”.

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