ViaSat drops more hints about super-capacity satellite
Viasat’s plan to launch and activate a new constellation of ViaSat-3 satellites has been slowed by the pandemic, but the company is already discussing potential capacity targets for a next-gen broadband satellite.
That satellite, dubbed ViaSat-4, could be powerful enough to support capacities of between 5 Tbit/s to 7 Tbit/s, Viasat Chairman and a Co-Founder Mark Dankberg said Thursday on the company’s fiscal Q3 2021 earnings call.
That would represent a capacity improvement of at least five times that of ViaSat-3, a satellite that will pump out at least 1 Tbit/s.
There’s “big time design work” underway for ViaSat-4, Dankberg said. Viasat has not announced anticipated timeframes for ViaSat-4. Light Reading has asked if the company is ready to ballpark it yet.
Dankberg also hinted at yet another satellite advancement – ViaSat-5 – that could supply two times the capacity of ViaSat-4. ViaSat-5 is at the conceptual phase, according to Dankberg.
Talk of those plans come as the broadband satellite market continues to heat up amid the entry of SpaceX’s Starlink and the anticipated entry of Amazon through its “Project Kuiper” initiative.
While Viasat has largely been focused on geosynchronous satellites that orbit some 22,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, Starlink is making progress with its plans to deploy a constellation of thousands of low-Earth orbit satellites equipped to deliver high-speed broadband and voice services at low latencies. In an FCC filing this week, SpaceX revealed that Starlink has deployed more than 1,000 LEOs so far and has signed up more than 10,000 users to its beta program.
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