ViaSat has selected SpaceX to launch ViaSat-2, the next generation of high-capacity broadband satellite. ViaSat-2 is scheduled for a late summer 2016 launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Falcon Heavy is the world’s most powerful rocket, with the ability to lift more than twice the payload of the next closest launch vehicle at only one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy is an evolution of the flight-proven Falcon 9 that is used to launch commercial satellites as well as cargo missions to the International Space Station.
Beginning with ViaSat-1, ViaSat began a transformation of satellite communications into a network technology that can provide high-performance services competitive with terrestrial alternatives, rather than being merely a last resort. ViaSat-2 is designed to provide another leap ahead in broadband service quality for residential, mobile, and enterprise satellite services.
“One of the primary objectives for ViaSat-2, beyond higher speeds, is to offer more data with all of our service plans. That’s what customers want from any wireless service,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. “We can do that by building a network with lots more network capacity at a cost that will attract more customers, and that’s what this new class of satellite is designed to do.”
ViaSat-2 is expected to cover seven times the geographic area and offer twice the bandwidth economics advantage of ViaSat-1, which is already the highest capacity satellite in the world. Planned coverage includes North America, Central America, and the Caribbean basin. The satellite will also provide a bridge of coverage across the North Atlantic, connecting North America with high-capacity coverage in the UK and Europe for high-speed in-flight internet and other mobile services.
Now under construction by Boeing, ViaSat-2 will become the fourth satellite in the ViaSat fleet.