ViaSat-1 Launch Gets Planned; High-Speed Satellite Internet Around The Bend?

Ever heard of ViaSat? What about satellite Internet? Yeah, that one probably got your attention. Satellite Internet is one of those weird, weird things that you aren't quite sure how to feel about. On one hand, it's a terrible Internet experience compared to the luxury of high-speed broadband provided by cable, DSL, etc. On the other, at least it's an option for those who are too far away from a typical ISP. So, it's better than nothing... but just barely? That sounds about right. But soon, those historically lackluster speeds may be improving. ViaSat Inc. has just announced that the launch of the ViaSat-1 high-capacity satellite is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19th. It'll be launched from the historic Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with liftoff scheduled for 12:48 am local time (October 20) in Baikonur.

The fueling of the ViaSat-1 spacecraft was completed on Monday, October 3. In the next phase of pre-launch preparations, the satellite will be mated to the launch vehicle payload adapter to begin the joint operations phase of the program. The combined assembly will then be joined with the Breeze M upper stage in preparation for mating to the Proton launch vehicle early next week. Wondering how and why this impacts you?

The high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite has planned coverage over North America and Hawaii, enabling a variety of new, high-speed broadband services for WildBlue in the U.S. and Xplornet in Canada. With a capacity estimated at 140 Gbps, ViaSat-1 will become the highest capacity satellite in the world once it is safely on orbit. In other words, once this bird is operational, we could finally see sat Internet speeds that are worth gloating about. Or, at least writing home about. Fingers crossed for a smooth launch!