EADS Astrium, SS/L To Build Ka-Band Satellites For Eutelsat, ViaSat
[Satellite Today – 1-8-08] Eutelsat and ViaSat have ordered a pair of Ka-band satellites under a collaboration to develop more satellite broadband capacity, the satellite operators announced Jan. 8.
“We are crossing a new frontier to a specifically designed infrastructure for interactive consumer services,” Giuliano Berretta, chairman and CEO of Eutelsat, said in a statement. “… Through the satellite infrastructure programs announced today by Eutelsat and ViaSat and the collaboration between our two companies, consumer satellite broadband is making exciting progress in terms of efficiency and competitiveness and can have a substantial impact in resolving the digital divide. More than 15 million homes in Europe and as many in North America will still be beyond range of terrestrial broadband networks in 2010.”
EADS Astrium will manufacture Ka-Sat, the first all-Ka-band satellite for Eutelsat. The spacecraft is scheduled to be placed into orbit in the 2010 third quarter to provide consumer broadband services across Europe and the Mediterranean basin. The procurement of the satellite and associated ground system is part of the investment objective Eutelsat laid out in October.
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) will build ViaSat-1 for ViaSat. The spacecraft, intended to serve the North American market, is planned for launch in 2011. ViaSat has secured financial commitments of more than $100 million from partners toward ViaSat-1 and will finance the remainder from cash on hand, future cash flows and available borrowing capacity, the company said. Loral is investing in the Canadian coverage portion of the satellite in anticipation of Telesat using this capacity to provide broadband services throughout Canada. Telesat will provide telemetry, tracking & control operations.
ViaSat and Eutelsat are cooperating around ViaSat’s Ka-band SurfBeam networking system and a similar wholesale business model that works through ISPs, telecommunications companies and pay-TV platforms to serve subscribers.
“This is a technology opportunity that is right in our sweet spot,” Mark Dankberg, CEO and chairman of ViaSat, said. “We provide ground systems for many commercial and government satellites, and as our activity in satellite payloads has increased, we realized that we could make a major breakthrough by simultaneously designing the spot beam satellite and the ground segment. At the same time, this strategic partnership combines our expertise and economies of scale in broadband modems and Ka-band MMICs, with the benefit of our partners’extensive experience in designing, launching, and operating advanced satellites and services.”