The ViaSat-1 story seems to be orbiting its way toward a happy ending in time for Christmas. The world's highest capacity telecommunications satellite sent down its first words on December 2nd: sadly it didn't chime a romantic "Mommy!" but a somber collection of high-bandwidth video streams, emails and websites. It'll continue back-and-forth testing, probably sending back pictures of red firetrucks until mid-December, which is when the company will assume "full control" (handed over from Space Systems / Loral) of the orbiting router and begin prepping commercial service before the end of the year. At which point, it'll be available to cover the US, Canada and Hawaii with KA-Band broadband service with partners WildBlue, Xplornet and JetBlue domestic flights.
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ViaSat-1 Satellite Successfully Communicating with WildBlue Network Gateway and Satellite Broadband Terminals

High-speed email, web browsing, and video are all part of first satellite transmissions

CARLSBAD, Calif., Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT) has transmitted the first data over the ViaSat-1 high-capacity satellite and the WildBlue high-speed data network. The initial transmissions and receptions were completed the evening of December 2 from a SurfBeam® 2 terminal at ViaSat's Carlsbad campus, through the ViaSat-1 satellite and a gateway located in Milford, Utah. The test included email, web surfing, and video streaming, proving the power of the integrated network. The satellite, designed and owned by ViaSat, is the highest capacity satellite in the world.

Once in-orbit testing is complete (planned for mid-December), satellite manufacturer Space Systems/Loral will hand over operation of the 140 Gbps capacity satellite to ViaSat and partner Telesat. ViaSat will then begin the final phase of integration with the network of 20 SurfBeam® 2 ground stations that connect the satellite to the Internet backbone. Commercial service is expected to begin prior to the end of calendar year 2011.

"We have advanced satellite technology to the point that satellite can now be a better alternative for broadband Internet than DSL, and 3G / 4G wireless offerings for fixed home use - an enormous leap for satellite broadband technology," said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat. "The ViaSat-1 satellite will help bridge the 'digital divide' in the U.S., and we're confident that this new service has been designed in a way where it will be attractive to a large segment of the U.S. population - delivering both speed and value to the underserved."

The ViaSat-1 high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite includes coverage over North America and Hawaii, enabling a variety of new, high-speed broadband services for WildBlue in the U.S., Xplornet in Canada, and JetBlue Airways on its domestic U.S. fleet.

About ViaSat
ViaSat delivers fast, secure communications, Internet, and remote network access to fixed sites or on-the-move. The company provides networking products and managed network services for enterprise IP applications; is a key supplier of network-centric military communications and encryption technologies and products to the U.S. and allied governments; is the primary technology partner for gateway and customer-premises equipment for consumer and mobile satellite broadband services; and offers high-speed Ka-band satellite broadband services under the WildBlue brand. ViaSat also offers design capabilities and a number of complementary products including monolithic microwave integrated circuits and modules, DVB-S2 satellite communication components, video data link systems, data acceleration and compression, and mobile satellite antenna systems. Based in Carlsbad, Calif., ViaSat has established a number of worldwide locations for customer service, network operations, and technology development.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements that refer to completion of in-orbit testing, final integration and entry into commercial service. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: in-orbit test or satellite failures, performance degradation, in-orbit risks and anomalies, or improper orbital placement of ViaSat-1. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in ViaSat's SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including ViaSat's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. ViaSat undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.

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ViaSat-1 sends its first words through the stratosphere to cooing stateside relatives