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Boeing tapped to build ViaSat-2 satellite, launch set for mid-2016

Boeing tapped to build ViaSat-2 satellite, launch set for mid-2016
Zach Honig
Zach Honig|May 16, 2013 4:59 PM

ViaSat-1 recently earned a Guinness World Record as the highest-capacity satellite in (or out of) the world, but it may need to hand off that title come 2016. ViaSat-2, the company's next-gen bird, will double the capacity of its predecessor while also extending coverage to a larger portion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean, along with the aviation and shipping routes between the East Coast and Europe. Boeing will manufacture the new equipment, which will be based on the 702HP satellite platform. Once in orbit, ViaSat-2 will serve residential customers, air travelers and government agencies alike, with a massive seven-fold increase in coverage. There aren't many details beyond that, but you're welcome to dig through the press release, posted right after the break.

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ViaSat Announces Next Generation Broadband Satellite

Boeing-built ViaSat-2 will support fast-growing Exede Internet services with unparalleled combination of capacity, service, coverage and flexibility

Carlsbad, Calif. – May 16, 2013 – ViaSat (NASDAQ: VSAT) has executed a contract with Boeing (NYSE: BA) to build ViaSat-2, which is based on ViaSat's next generation, Ka-band satellite technology and architecture. ViaSat-2 is expected to be, by far, the world's highest capacity satellite at the time of launch (scheduled for mid-2016) achieving an unparalleled mix of capacity and coverage. ViaSat-2 is anticipated to approximately double the bandwidth economics of ViaSat-1 while simultaneously increasing its coverage footprint by seven-fold.

ViaSat-2 Expected to Set New Benchmark for High-Speed Broadband by Satellite

Building on the market success of the ViaSat-1 based Exede® Internet service, which has received multiple awards in recognition of its innovation and service performance, ViaSat-2 is expected to significantly improve the speed and availability of broadband services over a greatly expanded coverage area that includes North America, Central America, the Caribbean, a small portion of northern South America as well as the primary aeronautical and maritime routes across the Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe.

Today's announcement marks the first major advancement of satellite broadband technology since the initial development of ViaSat-1, which recently earned a Guinness World Records® title as the highest-capacity communications satellite in the world. The ViaSat-2 system will include significant enhancements to ViaSat SurfBeam® networking technology and is designed to multiply the speeds offered to a level commensurate with high-speed fiber-to-the-node networks (FTTN).

"The market success of ViaSat-1 class satellites has highlighted the magnitude of the opportunity for truly competitive satellite services," said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat. "It's clear that superior bandwidth economics in space create competitive advantages on the ground, in the air, and at sea, compared to other satellite and terrestrial alternatives. ViaSat-2 represents a significant breakthrough in broadband satellite technology – for the very first time combining extremely high bandwidth capacity with very large coverage areas. ViaSat-2 will make it possible to offer superior in-flight connectivity on applications ranging from JetBlue leisure flights to the Caribbean to U.S. government aircraft traveling to Europe or Latin America, to critical national and Homeland Security missions. ViaSat-2 will also combine unprecedented capacity and coverage with operational flexibility – solving historically intractable issues in geographical distribution of bandwidth demand, capital investments, and system performance. We believe ViaSat-2 is more than just state-of-the-art technology, it's a great investment."

ViaSat and Boeing Execute Strategic Agreement

ViaSat-2 represents a cooperative effort with Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. The new satellite will be based on the Boeing 702HP satellite bus and draws on Boeing's four decades of experience gained from the production of more than 175 commercial communications satellites and its extensive expertise in Ka-band satellite communication systems. Along with the execution of the ViaSat-2 satellite contract, ViaSat and Boeing have entered into a strategic agreement to jointly market and sell satellites systems based on ViaSat-2 technology.

"The Boeing 702HP is our most powerful satellite platform," said Craig Cooning, chief executive officer of Boeing Satellite Systems International and vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. "This proven capability, integrated with ViaSat's own satellite technology, will result in what we expect to be the world's highest-capacity satellite, and will prove to be a major contributor to the expansion of ViaSat's complete portfolio of broadband services. We are committed to delivering this satellite on-schedule and with the highest level of mission assurance."

ViaSat Inc. or its affiliates will be the owner and/or operator of the ViaSat-2 satellite.

Boeing tapped to build ViaSat-2 satellite, launch set for mid-2016