ViaSat-3 on the move
October 3, 2023
By Chris Forrester
ViaSat-3 Americas, which suffered a major malfunction after launch on April 30th, is on the move from its original test position to a new location.
The satellite’s problem concerns its giant reflector which failed to deploy correctly. The satellite has subsequently been shaken and manipulated – all quite normal actions – in attempts to coax the antenna to deploy.
C H Lukas, who files the All Things Space blog, says that ViaSat-3 Americas is apparently enroute to the orbital slot designated for a follow-on satellite, ViaSat-3 AsiaPac.
Lukas says that a few days ago ViaSat-3 was raised about 150 km above the normal geostationary arc (although not as high as a ‘graveyard’ satellite orbit for dead craft) and was moving in a Westerly direction at about 2 degrees of arc per day.
On October 1st Lukas reported that ViaSat-3 was at 170 degrees West, and around 75 percent of the journey to the ViaSat-3 APAC slot. It is now making its transition at about 50 kms above the geostationary arc and thus not creating problems for working satellites that it over-flies.
There has been no news from Viasat as to the expected usefulness of ViaSat-Americas, and whether it will have a potential service life in orbit or subject to an insurance claim.