Viasat Inc.'s (NASDAQ: VSAT) ViaSat-2 satellite has successfully arrived in geostationary orbit at 69.9 degrees West and has transitioned into orbit normal mode (Earth pointing) with its reflector and radiator deployments now complete.
The company also confirmed the ViaSat-2 satellite has commenced on orbit testing, including the key milestone of the first end-to-end system test, with the ViaSat-2 satellite transmitting and receiving data to and from the new Viasat ground segment.
ViaSat-2 was launched by Arianespace from Kourou, French Guiana, on June 1, 2017. The ViaSat-2 satellite employed a hybrid propulsion approach, using both traditional chemical as well as electric propulsion. The chemical propulsion subsystem was responsible for initial orbit raising and performed according to plan, setting the stage for the follow-on ascent to geostationary orbit using electric propulsion, which was completed last week. Viasat spacecraft partner, Boeing Satellite Systems International, controlled and monitored ViaSat-2 throughout the orbit raising process, flying the satellite from its Mission Control Center in El Segundo, California.
Following completion of the in-orbit tests, the ViaSat-2 satellite is scheduled to enter commercial service in February of 2018, where it will enable the delivery of advanced residential, enterprise, government and in-flight internet services.
Within days of reaching its geostationary orbit, the Viasat team was successfully transmitting data to and from the ViaSat-2 satellite, as well as streaming content providing an early demonstration of the satellite's power and flexibility.
Mark Dankberg, the Chairman and CEO of Viasat stated that this is a great achievement for the Viasat team, customers and partners. The ViaSat-2 system is the culmination of years of hard work and commitment to bringing a satellite platform to market that can deliver truly high-speed, high-quality broadband to many more people, and with a much greater geographic reach. We're another step closer to bringing the ViaSat-2 satellite into service.
Additionally, signaling the company’s future expansion as a global internet service provider, Viasat has introduced a unified master brand and new logo identity system.
While the core identity remains “Viasat,” (now with a small “s”) other company sub-brand names will be phased out throughout 2018. Those include the “Exede” and “WildBlue” residential internet brands as well as Yonder business aviation service, GoWiFi managed Wi-Fi service, Arconics aviation software name and others.
Along with the unified name comes a new brand identity.The change comes just ahead of the launch of the ViaSat-2 satellite broadband service, which is expected in early 2018. ViaSat-2 is more than twice as powerful as the ViaSat-1 satellite that launched in 2011, and is expected to increase Viasat’s internet coverage area sevenfold, by expanding into new regions within Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, some of northern South America and the primary air and maritime routes across the Atlantic to Europe. ViaSat-2 is also expected to double capacity over its predecessor.
The new brand applies to all of Viasat’s products, from military equipment to consumer and business internet. Tying Viasat’s diverse portfolio under a single name is expected to help drive awareness for the Company’s offerings — on the ground, in the air and at sea, while also bolstering the Company’s overall corporate reputation.
A great example is a consumer flying on a Viasat-enabled commercial airplane, who can enjoy our service firsthand at 35,000 feet. When they land, they can then make a more educated choice to enjoy Viasat's broadband service in their home. Additionally, for consumers, knowing Viasat provides communications equipment and cybersecurity to global militaries and government agencies inspires confidence.
"Ssunsetting” Viasat's sub-brands will not occur overnight. A phased approach is going to be taken as to how the company retires its brands over the course of the next six months. For example, the current Exede.com website will remain active for some time into 2018, as we want to ensure our residential and business internet customers have access to the site, service and navigation tools they know and use.