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ViaSat-2 to Launch Late Summer 2016 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy will carry ViaSat-2 into orbit late summer next year from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. ViaSat-2 will be located at 69.9 degrees west longitude and supplement coverage from ViaSat-1 at 115 degrees west longitude. ViaSat-1 was launched in October 2011 and placed into commercial service on Jan. 16, 2012. Both satellites have 1.5 GHz of downlink and uplink spectrum.

ViaSat says ViaSat-2 will double the bandwidth economics of ViaSat-1 and provide seven times the coverage area, covering North America, Central America, and the Caribbean basin. It will also provide a bridge of coverage across the North Atlantic, connecting North America with high-capacity coverage in the U.K. and Europe for high-speed in-flight Internet and other mobile services.

Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO, said, “”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. 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.”

SpaceX says its 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. It evolved from the Falcon 9 currently being used to launch commercial satellites and well as cargo to the International Space Station.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.