ViaSat Partners with European Space Agency for SATCOM System Development

ViaSat has announced a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between its wholly owned subsidiary ViaSat Antenna Systems SA and the European Space Agency (ESA). Through this partnership they will look to develop key components of the ViaSat-3 satellite communications system with the European industry.

ViaSat-3 is an ultra-high capacity satellite platform, comprised of three ViaSat-3 class satellites with state-of-the-art ground network infrastructure. Each ViaSat-3 satellite will offer over 1-Terabit per second (Tbps) of network capacity, which is comparable to the total capacity of all commercial satellites in space today. The platform is expected to give consumers greater choice in their Internet Service Provider (ISP) by enabling 100+ Megabits per second (Mbps) broadband speeds to the home.

The €68 million PPP, known as Project AIDAN, has been kicked off with an initial funding of €31.2 million and is co-funded by ESA with the support of three of its Member States (Switzerland, the Netherlands and Romania), ViaSat and others within the European industry. The program will focus on developing and productizing two key innovative components of the ViaSat-3 satellite ground segment, which include:

  • Fixed and mobile user terminals, including the development of a fully-electronic phased array for residential broadband, in-flight Wi-Fi and connected car applications
  • Ground segment equipment and gateways for the ViaSat-3 network, which include the Satellite Access Node (SAN) subsystems for a cloud-based ground network infrastructure.

Products under the PPP are expected to be available by 2019. This timing will enable adequate testing of all equipment with the ViaSat-3 constellation. As publicly announced, the first two ViaSat-3 class satellites will focus on the Americas and Europe and Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively, with a third satellite system planned for the Asia Pacific region.