ViaSat-3 suffers major problem
July 13, 2023
By Chris Forrester
Viasat’s brand new – but long delayed – satellite, ViaSat-3, only launched on May 1st, has suffered problems with its antenna.
A statement from Viasat issued after the market closed on July 12th said that an unexpected event occurred during reflector deployment that may materially impact the performance of the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite.
“Viasat and its reflector provider are conducting a rigorous review of the development and deployment of the affected reflector to determine its impact and potential remedial measures,” the statement added.
“We’re disappointed by the recent developments,” said Mark Dankberg, Chairman and CEO, Viasat. “We’re working closely with the reflector’s manufacturer to try to resolve the issue. We sincerely appreciate their focused efforts and commitment.”
The comments from Viasat added: “Contingency plans are currently being refined to minimize the economic effect to the company. Potential options include redeploying satellites from Viasat’s extensive fleet to optimize global coverage, and/or reallocating a subsequent ViaSat-3 class satellite to provide additional Americas bandwidth. The initial service priority for ViaSat-3 Americas has been to facilitate growth in the company’s North American fixed broadband business.”
“There is no disruption to customers from this event, and no impact to coverage or capacity of the respective Viasat and Inmarsat constellations currently in service. Following the Inmarsat acquisition, Viasat has 12 Ka-band satellites in space, excluding ViaSat-3, with eight additional Ka-band satellites under construction. The company will share additional information on the status of the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite and any necessary contingency plans during its earnings call which is planned for August 9, 2023,” said the communication.
The satellite is insured for some $420 million (€378m) and is designed with throughput of 1 Tb/s.
As well as the options of moving an existing satellite to fulfil ViaSat-3’s mission, it is also possible that the second new ViaSat craft, and intended for a EMEA role could be reassigned to serve the ‘Americas’ market.