"When I was a little kid, I was always fascinated by space and science fiction. And Arthur C. Clarke was certainly someone I admired," said Mr. Dankberg. "So this award really means a lot to me."
Continuing his remarks, he said that when he and co-founders Mark Miller and Steve Hart were starting ViaSat they always aspired to do satellite networks, but that they never dreamed of having a satellite of their own. Then in 2008, to much skepticism from both the satellite industry and financial markets, they embarked on their $500 million project to build a satellite with more capacity than all other satellites over North America combined. A project that has achieved commercial success and spurred an industry to follow ViaSat's lead in finding innovative ways to continue to reposition satellite as a viable competitor to other communication technologies.
Citing the company's recently announced next step of building ViaSat-2, he referred to another of Arthur Clarke's quotes: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
"It's a great testimony of whether we're being ambitious and reaching far enough," said Mr. Dankberg. "Hopefully what we're seeing is just the beginning of what we can do, and we're not anywhere near the end."
The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation was established in 1983 as part of World Communications Year celebrations at the United Nations, an international event sponsored by the United Nation's International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Foundation was created to recognize and promote the extraordinary contributions of Arthur C. Clarke to the world, and to promote the use of space and telecommunications technology for the benefit of humankind.
Mr. Dankberg co-founded ViaSat in 1986 and has held the position of chairman and CEO since inception. Under his leadership, ViaSat has consistently been one of America's fastest growing technology companies. He is the leading visionary for a new generation of high-capacity satellite systems and is an acknowledged industry expert in aerospace, defense, and satellite communications.
Mr. Dankberg was named Entrepreneur of the Year in San Diego in 2000, Satellite Industry Executive of the Year in 2003, received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aerospace International Communications Award in 2008, and was named 2012 Visionary Executive of the Year in the satellite industry. He is an alumnus of Rice University where he is a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Hall of Fame.