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Satnews Daily
July 23rd, 2019

Ground Station Support for General Atomics' OTB Satellite Achieved by Viasat

Viasat's Real-Time Earth (RTE) service has achieved a major milestone by providing ground station service support to General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems' (GA-EMS) Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite after its successful launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on June 25, 2019.

Once in orbit, Viasat's RTE service provided critical satellite commissioning activities and subsequent operations from two of its U.S. ground stations: one in Georgia and the other in Hawaii.

Artistic rendition of General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Orbital Test Bed satellite.

Image is courtesy of the company.

The GA-EMS OTB satellite is a new paradigm for LEO hosted payload spacecraft, and provides customers with affordable access to space in order to test and qualify various technologies. Viasat's role in the OTB program has been to provide initial communications, control and telemetry services to the spacecraft via the Viasat RTE ground station network.

Viasat's RTE network provides Ground-Station-as-a-Service (GSaaS) to the Earth Observation and remote sensing community. The service offers affordability and reduced latency through automation and geographic diversity on a pay-per-use basis. Viasat's RTE service can support next-generation and legacy LEO satellites using the S-, X-, and Ka-bands, which enables operators to meet today's and tomorrow's data requirements.

John Williams, VP for Real-Time Earth services at Viasat, said that supporting General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems in the successful launch and early orbit operations of the first OTB satellite is a testament to the strength of the company's RTE ground-to-space tracking services. As the firm's RTE network grows in terms of locations and capabilities, Viasat feels confident the company can provide enhanced state-of-the-art GSaaS capabilities and expect to grow the customer base and opportunities, globally.