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Second Viasat Satellite Malfunctions, Follows Viasat-3 Americas Problem

Airbus has said this anomaly is an "unprecedented" event.

Edward Gately

August 25, 2023

2 Min Read
Viasat satellite malfunctions
Andrei Armiagov/Shutterstock

A second Viasat satellite has malfunctioned, this time during its orbit raising phase, but the company says it’s not impacting ongoing customer services.

Viasat has confirmed its Inmarsat-6 F2 (I6 F2) satellite, which launched Feb. 18, has suffered a power subsystem anomaly. At this stage, Viasat and Airbus, the satellite’s manufacturer, are working to determine the root cause of the anomaly and assess whether the satellite will be able to perform its mission.

Airbus has said this anomaly is an “unprecedented” event and none of its geostationary telecommunication satellites have ever suffered a failure in orbit.

A Viasat spokesperson tells us if partners have specific questions, they should reach out to their account manager or point of contact at the company.

ViaSat-3 America Malfunction

This malfunction is separate from another incident discovered last month. A new Viasat satellite, Viasat-3 Americas, launched in April aimed to provide substantially more internet connectivity to the United States. However, the mission to unfurl the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite’s large mesh antenna went awry, materially impacting the performance of the satellite, according to Viasat officials.

“Our team is still working closely with the reflector manufacturer to conduct a rigorous review of the development and deployment of the affected reflector to determine its impact and potential remedial measures,” the Viasat spokesperson said.

Viasat offers high-speed satellite internet that can connect people where other companies can’t. The multibillion-dollar global company’s primary goal is to connect the unconnected, whether that’s in the United States or internationally.

Viasat Satellite Costs Covered

The manufacturing and launch costs of the I6 F2 satellite were insured. The twin Inmarat-6 F1 satellite (I6 F1), launched in December 2021, is operational and continues to perform as expected.

Mark Dankberg, Viasat‘s chairman and CEO, said Viasat’s satellite fleet assets are key factors in the company’s resilience and in enabling sustained growth.

Dankberg-Mark_Viasat.jpg

Viasat’s Mark Dankberg

“The I6 satellites are intended to augment our fleet of geostationary L-band satellites, supplementing capacity and redundant coverage,” he said. “In addition to our existing L-band fleet, Viasat has a further three L-band satellites (the recently announced Inmarsat-8 satellites) under construction to strengthen the company’s global safety services. I6 F2 also included four Gbps of additional Ka-band capacity, which was added to the satellite to provide further flexibility to the legacy Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band fleet. Now, in addition to the 11 existing Ka-band satellites in service for the combined company, and its access to additional partner’s satellites, Viasat has seven more Ka-band satellites under construction, which the company anticipates will sustain and enhance its leading and growing global mobility services.”

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Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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