ViaSat-1 moves into fixed orbit, aims its broadband ray gun

To advanced aliens and Europeans, ViaSat-1 is no big deal. To Americans and Canadians, however, it's their ticket to more affordable satellite broadband coverage at speeds of up to 10Mbps, as well better in-flight connectivity. The satellite's plasma thrusters have moved it into geosynchronous orbit and its payload has been switched on, so the initial service is on track to begin by Christmas time, with further services in 2012. Want to know more about the tech involved in such extraterrestrial feats? Then look for the detailed PR after the break.

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Post-launch operations on schedule with satellite ready to begin in-orbit testing

CARLSBAD, Calif., Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) has announced that ViaSat-1, the highest capacity satellite in the world, is now positioned in geosynchronous orbit where it will begin in-orbit testing. Since launching on October 19, ViaSat-1 has successfully completed all scheduled maneuvers:

• Deployment of solar arrays

• Six apogee motor firings, lifting the spacecraft from transfer orbit to geosynchronous orbit

• Deployment of main reflectors and sub-reflectors

• Deployment of stationary plasma thrusters for satellite positioning

On Wednesday the satellite's payload was switched on, enabling the first high-capacity satellite over North America to begin a series of in-orbit tests. Those tests will be followed by a move to its operational orbital location. The 140 Gbps capacity satellite is scheduled to enter service in late December. At that time the initial ViaSat-1 service will launch and then services will sequentially expand across the United States over the following months.

ViaSat -1 is the second multi-spotbeam satellite to use ViaSat's transformational high-capacity satellite system architecture, following the launch of services on Eutelsat KA-SAT in Europe earlier this year. The satellite was built for ViaSat by Space Systems/Loral, and launched by International Launch Services.

ViaSat-1 is designed to transform the economics and quality of service that satellite broadband can provide. The technology is expected to elevate satellite into a much more competitive position in the broadband service marketplace, with the capacity to serve the accelerating growth in bandwidth demand for multimedia Internet access over the next decade. The 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.