Carlsbad-based Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) received a $53.3 million contract from NASA to provide real time communications services for low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The service will leverage the company’s ViaSat-3 constellation of satellites, which the company plans to launch soon.
The demonstration contract may lead to future work with NASA.
For more than a year, NASA said it has been evaluating the feasibility of using commercial satellite networks for near-Earth operations as it works to decommission its own near-Earth satellite fleet. NASA said the approach will allow it to focus time and resources on deep space exploration and science missions.
According to NASA, Viasat’s proposed approach demonstrates a commercial radio frequency geostationary orbiting relay network for high- and low-rate communications services to spacecraft in low-Earth orbit for routine launch and missions.
Viasat operates in the Ka-band of radio frequencies (similar to a TV channel) and has ground stations on five continents: North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa. Viasat said it is developing a space-qualified terminal to give LEO operators access to the ViaSat-3 network for data transfer.
NASA announced five other contract winners. A $28.6 million contract will go to Inmarsat Government Inc. of Reston, Virginia.
Inmarsat operates in the L-band. Its parent company, U.K.-based Inmarsat, has agreed to become part of Viasat.
Other contracts went to Kuiper Government Solutions LLC, SES Government Solutions, SpaceX and Telesat U.S. Services LLC.
A Military Tribute With the Padres
In other company news, Viasat and the San Diego Padres unveiled a military tribute, the Viasat Military Hall of Honor, at Petco Park late last month (April 24).
The wall is in the Power Alley located in the right field concourse, near section 133. There fans can view information and different content on former Padres and other Major League Baseball players who served in the military through two touchscreen televisions. Fans will also be able to record and send personalized messages to active-duty military members and various military bases in a dedicated recording booth located within the area.
Craig Miller, president of Viasat’s Government Systems business, said the exhibit is “an effort symbolic of both Viasat’s and the Padres’ belief in recognizing military service and supporting the veteran community here in San Diego… and beyond.”
CEO: Rick Baldridge
BUSINESS: Broadband services and technologies company
REVENUE: $2.26 billion in fiscal 2021 (Viasat’s fiscal year ends on March 31)
STOCK: VSAT on NASDAQ
EMPLOYEES: 2,540 in Carlsbad, 6,359 worldwide
NOTABLE: Viasat assembles payloads for its high-speed ViaSat-3 satellites at its facility in Arizona.