Thermal vacuum testing has been completed on the second satellite for Viasat’s forthcoming Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission, which aims to provide high-speed broadband to the Arctic region by the second half of 2024. Viasat announced the test completion on Tuesday, saying that the two satellites will be deployed in the mission led by Space Norway’s subsidiary, Heosat.
The two spacecraft’s deployment will be in a highly elliptical orbit, the world’s first space mission with a broadband commercial service payload, Viasat said.
The satellites, ASBM-1 and ASBM-2, will carry Viasat’s GX-10a and GX-10b Ka band payloads, increasing the company’s fleet to 20 once in orbit and an additional eight to be developed after. The two satellites’ integration into the fleet will be Viasat’s first non-geostationary orbiting spacecraft and will serve as a critical component of a cooperative hybrid network.
Besides their Ka band packs, the satellites will also carry U.S. Space Force and Norwegian Armed Forces’ payloads, Viasat disclosed.