May 28, 2024

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A satellite worth half a billion euros is not working, unfortunately it is already in space |  Technique

A satellite worth half a billion euros is not working, unfortunately it is already in space | Technique

The entire ViaSat-3 mission is estimated to cost $700 million, equivalent to €623 million. Fortunately, the company has insurance, but it “barely” covers 374 million euros. If the company collects it, it would be one of the largest insurance claims ever for a satellite.

ViaSat operates with three several thousand Starlink satellites. Therefore, bugs with them are much more difficult.

The ViaSat-3 satellites—the company has ordered three—should provide broadband Internet service to Earth. They compete, for example, with Elon Musk’s Starlink, which works with thousands of small satellites. If one of them happens to not work, the company’s problem is less. ViaSat opts for a different strategy, of a few very powerful devices suspended in a fixed location around the Earth.

The ViaSat-3 satellites have, among other things, two giant solar panels on board, which are about the same width as a Boeing 767. They use a large antenna mounted on a 25-meter boom that should receive the signal from thousands of users on the ground. Something went wrong with the last part: the thing wouldn’t be exposed, so the satellite couldn’t do its job.

The company is listed on the stock exchange and has already taken a beating there. The share price collapsed by thirty percent. Typically, the satellite has been providing customers with the Internet for about fifteen years. There is a good chance that the launch of the other two ViaSat-3 satellites will be delayed.

By the way, ViaSat hid the problems first. But an amateur astronomer discovered something strange in the signal sent by the satellite, so he tweeted about it and announced the defect in this way.

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