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ViaSat-1 Arrives at Baikonur Space Center

Space Systems/Loral announced that it delivered the high-throughput broadband satellite it built for ViaSat Inc. to the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan on Sept. 15. The satellite will be launched aboard an ILS Proton Breeze M vehicle provided by International Launch Services (ILS). ViaSat-1 is a Ka-band satellite that will use multiple spot beams and frequency reuse to maximize capacity for broadband service in North America. It will be positioned at 115.1 degrees West Longitude.

The satellite has 72 spot beams, 63 for the United States and nine positioned over Canada. It will provide over 100 Gbps throughput, primarily for use in the U.S. West Coast region and east of the Texas Panhandle. It's constructed on Space Systems/Loral's 1300 platform and is designed to deliver service for 15 years or longer.

"The ViaSat-1 system, which includes the gateways and user terminals in addition to the satellite, is going to change the way people think about satellite broadband," Mark Dankberg, CEO of ViaSat. "Now, with the satellite at launch base, we are very close to seeing our vision become a reality."

For years I've been predicting broadband over Ka-band satellite would provide a viable alternative to conventional SNG trucks, similar to the way 4G cellular networks are being used to provide an alternative to conventional microwave ENG trucks in some situations. It isn't clear whether ViaSat will offer a mobile/transportable service using ViaSat-1, but given the small size of Ka-band antennas it would appear to be a viable option for ViaSat.