Boeing delivers Viasat-3 craft
March 22, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Boeing has delivered to Florida what it describes as the “most powerful” satellite platform it has ever built in the shape of ViaSat-3 Americas, a new-generation craft for operator Viasat of California. It will be able to harness well over 30 kW of solar power when it reaches orbit. That’s 1/4+ of the power generated aboard the International Space Station.
Boeing integrated Viasat’s own ultra-high-capacity payload into one of Boeing’s 702MP satellites.
“Working with Boeing, we’re very excited to complete the ViaSat-3 Americas and bring us one step closer to providing higher speeds, more bandwidth, and greater value to our customers on a global scale whether they be on land, on the sea, or in the air,” said Dave Ryan, president Space & Commercial Networks, Viasat. “The innovation of this satellite allows us new levels of flexibility to dynamically allocate capacity to the most attractive and engaged geographic markets.”
Upon embarking from the Boeing factory in California, ViaSat-3 Americas was flown to the Florida Space Coast where Boeing and Viasat teams will support launch and mission operations as the spacecraft prepares to travel to geostationary orbit, approximately 22,000 miles from Earth. Once in orbit, ViaSat-3 Americas will be the first of three 702MP+ satellites to make up the ultra-high-capacity ViaSat-3 satellite constellation, designed to provide high-quality, affordable global connectivity and coverage.
“We designed, built and delivered the most powerful satellite platform we have ever provided to a customer. The result really is an engineering marvel,” said Michelle Parker, VP/Space Mission Systems at Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “We expanded the boundaries of our design and the platform components to exceed Viasat’s demanding mission requirements, while ensuring alignment with Boeing’s proven qualification and reliability standards.”
Based on the flight-proven 702 vehicle design hosting the US Department of Defense’s Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) constellation, and more than 40 other high-performing satellites, including ViaSat-2, Boeing’s 702MP+ features all-electric propulsion for the first time aboard a 702MP, providing more sustained thrust and efficiency.
Boeing improved the platform’s structure to support Viasat’s large payload. The platform also accommodates the largest commercial satellite solar arrays Boeing-subsidiary Spectrolab has ever produced, along with batteries and supporting electronics, which generate well over 30 kW of solar power.
The satellite has some of the largest reflectors ever sent to space and will be significantly larger than most geostationary satellites, requiring highly-refined, highly reliable hardware and software to maintain optimal satellite control. In addition to designing and manufacturing the platform, Boeing worked with Viasat to integrate the payload.
SpaceX will launch the satellite on one of its Falcon Heavy rockets. Currently the launch is scheduled for April 8th.
The ViaSat-3 Americas is a series of three Ka-band satellites is expected to provide vastly superior capabilities in terms of service speed and flexibility for a satellite platform. Each ViaSat-3 class satellite is expected to deliver more than 1-Terabit per second of network capacity, and to leverage high levels of flexibility to dynamically direct capacity to where customers are located.