Astranis announced today that its first commercial communications satellite, set to provide service for Alaska from geostationary orbit, will now launch as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on a direct-inject mission set for Spring 2022.
The mission profile will allow the spacecraft to arrive at its orbital slot within days of launch and removes the need for a multiple-month orbit raise from a highly-elliptical geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
Astranis CEO John Gedmark said:
“Launching on Falcon Heavy will get us on-orbit months faster, allowing us to serve customers in Alaska that much sooner. This is a huge win for our customers in Alaska.”
The change of launch vehicle from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 follows the successful launch of a subscale demonstration satellite to orbit, the successful completion of thermal-vacuum testing of a qualification vehicle, and the successful completion of their Critical Design Review. Astranis recently announced that the satellite is in its final stage of assembly after a successful end-to-end payload demonstration that showed results above spec.
Astranis’s small communications satellite is bound for geostationary orbit to serve Alaska, a state that has long faced one of the sharpest digital divides in the United States. According to Broadband Now, 39% of Alaskans are underserved when it comes to internet access — the highest rate of any state. The Astranis satellite will roughly triple the currently available satellite capacity in Alaska while also bringing costs down to one third of current pricing for both residential and wholesale customers.
Pacific Dataport CEO Chuck Schumann stated:
“Working with the entire Astranis team has been a wonderful experience and we’re excited to see our satellite readied for launch. There are more than 100,000 rural Alaskans who are ready for an affordable broadband connection and Astranis is helping us bring them modern connectivity. This is a really big deal for Alaska.”
Astranis is building small, low-cost telecommunications satellites to connect the four billion people who currently do not have access to the internet. Each spacecraft operates from geostationary orbit (GEO) with a next-generation design of only 400 kg, utilizing a proprietary software-defined radio payload. This unique digital payload technology allows frequency and coverage flexibility, as well as maximum use of valuable spectrum. By owning and operating its satellites and offering them to customers as a turnkey solution, Astranis is able to provide bandwidth-as-a-service and unlock previously unreachable markets. This allows Astranis to launch small, dedicated satellites for small and medium-sized countries, Fortune 500 companies, existing satellite operators, and other customers.
About Pacific Dataport Inc.
Pacific Dataport Inc. (PDI) is a satellite middle mile provider headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. PDI was founded “by Alaskans, for Alaskans” to enable Internet access for everyone, everywhere in Alaska. PDI is focused on providing affordable middle mile and last mile broadband using the newest satellite technology from the Aurora and OneWeb Networks. PDI clients include telecoms (wired & wireless), non-profits, hospitals, health clinics, schools, libraries, governments (Tribal, local, state & federal) and Alaska Native Corporations, Villages and Tribes.
Courtesy of Astranis