More than 100 people celebrated the grand opening of Viasat’s Germantown, MD office May 26. The new site brings employees from what had been two separate offices together under one roof.
“It was fantastic, a really great success,” said Prakash Chitre, the office’s vice president and general manager. “It’s much better that we’re all together now.”
The office first opened its doors in October 2020, but delayed the official opening celebration until the pandemic had eased.
The three-story, 97,000-square-foot building will have room for 185 employees; Germantown currently has about 150. It includes a two-story parking garage, café, workout area with showers and lockers, game room, and outdoor barbecue and game area.
It also includes room for growth. Space on the third floor could accommodate another 60 employees, and plans for a 20,000-square-foot addition are preapproved when the space is needed.
Germantown employees are involved in multiple aspects of the company’s business, doing work for all Viasat’s business segments. That includes work on the upcoming ViaSat-3 global constellation.
A ViaSat-3 Satellite Access Node (SAN) — or ground station — was recently installed on the Germantown roof. It will be used for system testing before and after the launch, and long-term operation as part of ViaSat-3’s larger SAN network.
“There’s a lot of diversity in this one office, both in terms of the kind of people who work here and the projects we do,” Hakim said. “I’ve always thought that was our biggest strength.”
The Maryland office began as the Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT), a federally funded company tasked with developing a global satellite communications system in 1964.
In 2001, Viasat bought COMSAT Laboratories, the COMSAT corporation’s research and development arm. Its scientists and engineers developed hundreds of patents applicable to global satellite communications.
Chitre, who joined COMSAT Laboratories in 1980, said Viasat’s acquisition was “like a marriage made in heaven.
”COMSAT was a technology driven organization; we thrived on doing challenging new R&D,” he said. “Viasat was a perfect fit for us.”
Viasat’s new site was among the first projects in the new and fast-growing mixed-use development near I-270 and the Germantown Town Center. Designed to function as a work/live/play community, it includes an apartment complex, and senior living facility with future plans call for hotels, banks, retail, and more housing.
The new building symbolizes not only growth and an exciting future for Germantown, but the company overall.
“We have a lot of people working on the ViaSat-3 ground and space segments,” Chitre said. “These next few months are going to be quite exciting. We will have much more to celebrate.”