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Astranis and Infinite Orbits Confirm Success on ViaSat-3 Launch

By Rachel Jewett | May 1, 2023

      SpaceX launches the ViaSat-3 satellite on Sunday, April 30. Photo: SpaceX

      Astranis and Infinite Orbits — the two companies with secondary payloads on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission that launched ViaSat-3 — confirmed their satellites were successfully deployed. 

      After Sunday night’s launch, Astranis CEO John Gedmark confirmed that the company made contact with the Arcturus satellite. Its solar array and antennas were successfully deployed, and the system was operating nominally. 

      The satellite, Arcturus, is the first Astranis MicroGEO satellite to launch. Astranis’s customer is Alaska satellite services provider Pacific Dataport, which will use the capacity to provide broadband in Alaska. Pacific Dataport exec Shawn Williams previously spoke in-depth with Via Satellite about the challenges for broadband connectivity in Alaska, and why Pacific Dataport invested in a satellite to bridge the digital divide.

      “The most exciting part of the Aurora 4A launch is knowing how many lives this one satellite will change,” Williams said at the time. “We often work with Alaska’s tribal leaders and talk about how the Alaska Native villages are truly the have-nots in the digital divide. If they do have broadband, it’s slow and expensive. This satellite will start to level the playing field and finally bring some competition to the market.”

      French company Infinite Orbits also confirmed its small GEO satellite, Orbit Guard, was successfully launched. Orbit Guard is a small satellite to prove technology for in-orbit servicing missions. The satellite will perform several demonstration missions in GEO in the upcoming months. 

      “A massive thanks to our incredible team at Infinite Orbits, our partners, and supporters who made this possible. We’re excited to demonstrate Orbit Guard 1’s cutting-edge capabilities in the coming months,” the company said post-launch.