Viasat, a global leader in satellite communications, has announced that the second satellite in the Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission, led by the Space Norway subsidiary Heosat, has completed thermal vacuum testing at Northrop Grumman’s Dulles, VA, site. This milestone brings the project one step closer to connecting the Arctic region with high-speed broadband in the second half of 2024.
The mission will deploy two satellites, ASBM-1 and ASBM-2, in a highly elliptical orbit (HEO), making it the world’s first HEO mission carrying a broadband commercial service payload. These satellites will host Viasat’s GX-10a and GX-10b Ka-band payloads, expanding Viasat’s high-speed global network to the Arctic region.
The spacecraft are designed to integrate with Viasat’s existing satellite fleet, extending the coverage of its Ka-band network beyond that provided by geostationary satellites. This will be Viasat’s first venture into non-geostationary orbit and will become a crucial component of its cooperative hybrid network. The addition of these satellites will increase Viasat’s fleet size to 20, with eight more in development.
The Arctic has a growing need for connectivity to support governments, shipping companies, commercial airlines, and scientists. This mission will provide dedicated broadband services to users in the real Arctic and will also host payloads for the Norwegian Armed Forces and the US Space Force.
The ASBM-1 and ASBM-2 spacecraft will undergo final testing and readiness activities before being transferred to Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, where they will be launched together on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in mid-2024.
Viasat is committed to connecting everyone and everything in the world through its global communications network. With the completion of the acquisition of Inmarsat, Viasat aims to deliver new solutions to meet customers’ requirements.
Disclaimer: Forward-looking statements in this press release refer to the GX10 program and the planned timing and features of the ASBM-1 and ASBM-2 satellites. Actual results may vary and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements.