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.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.