Viasat kicked off the year with another ranking on Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work list, and ended it with a visit from President Joe Biden, making for a great spin around the sun.
And while 2022 was a big year, company events expected in 2023 might just eclipse it.
Before we move ahead to all that’s coming, let’s look back at our biggest news stories from this fast-fading year.
For the second year in a row, Viasat was named to Glassdoor’s list of 2022 Best Places to Work in the U.S. for large employers. The company was honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, ranking 66 out of 100 companies recognized.
The Employees’ Choice Award, now in its 14th year, is based solely on the input of employees, who elect to provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their job, work environment and employer on Glassdoor, the worldwide leader in insights about jobs and companies.
Viasat is answering that call.
At its facility near Atlanta, GA Viasat builds large-aperture antennas up to 24 meters. These types of antennas are relatively uncommon, and Viasat is one of the few companies in the world creating them. Such large antennas have very specific purposes.
For communications reaching to the moon and back, the best antenna is one large enough to successfully capture signals from so far away. And with missions to the moon and Mars just around the corner for the U.S. and other spacefaring nations and private companies, Viasat is poised to deliver those antennas.
Viasat’s next generation Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity (IFC) system will be factory-installed on all new Southwest Airlines’ aircraft deliveries, starting in the first quarter of 2023.
The installations will include both IFC and live television service, so customers can stream, watch live television, access social media platforms and do other online activities on any internet-ready device, from takeoff to landing.
The new Choice home internet plans deliver up to 150 Mbps in select areas.
It also gives U.S. consumers more options in selecting the right internet service to meet their speed and data needs, offering five plans that deliver download speeds up to 25 Mbps and 150 Mbps in select areas.
Viasat received approval for the proposed combination of their businesses by the UK Government under the National Security & Investment Act. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced that the transaction does not pose a risk to the UK’s national security.
Viasat announced its plans to acquire Inmarsat in late 2021. Inmarsat is a British satellite telecommunications company that provides telephone and data services worldwide. It owns and operates fourteen geostationary telecommunications satellites.
Viasat CEO Mark Dankberg said the transaction will transform Viasat’s balance sheet and reduce cash interest obligations. In addition, he said, it will enable continued growth opportunities for the Link 16 business, assuring customers of a competitive, innovative, and reliable source for their future needs.
The TDL network is integrated into military aircraft, ground vehicles, surface vessels and operating bases, letting warfighters securely share voice and data communications.
The Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council award acknowledged innovation and achievement in the satellite industry, and leadership in developing and expediting the distribution of new satellite services in the Asia-Pacific region. The third satellite of Viasat’s upcoming ViaSat-3 global constellation will focus on Asia-Pacific.
“We don’t give this every year, and it has to go to a person that has an illustrious career,” said award presenter and APSCC President Gregg Daffner. “This year is no exception …”
President Joe Biden paid a visit to Viasat’s Carlsbad, CA headquarters on the cusp of the midterm elections. The president spoke on site for about 45 minutes, praising Viasat for its support of veterans and its innovation.
“I’m here at Viasat today because when it comes to veterans and winning the economic competition of the 21st century, this is the outfit you want to be with,” he said.
Biden said Viasat’s employees and those at other companies that drive technological innovation will benefit from passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, which would lead to more semiconductor production in the US.
The ViaSat-3 Americas satellite completed its Final Integrated Satellite Test (FIST). FIST tests the satellite’s payload and bus systems to confirm they function properly after the stress of mechanical and environmental testing, simulating the spacecraft’s launch.
“With the completion of the Final Integrated Satellite Test, we now have final confirmation that the satellite design and build process has produced a spacecraft that is ready for launch,” said Dave Ryan, president of Space & Commercial Networks at Viasat.
The ViaSat-3 class of Ka-band satellites is expected to provide the best bandwidth economics in the industry. The first two satellites are planned to focus on the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, respectively. The third satellite is designed to focus on the Asia Pacific region, completing Viasat’s global service coverage.
Space & Satellite Professionals International honored Viasat for helping to improve the world as part of its 8th annual Better Satellite World Awards on Dec. 5.
The award honors companies and innovators that help improve the world. It recognized Viasat for helping Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia access the internet. Viasat deployed its satellite connectivity across various refugee sites in Slovakia – at no cost to the refugees. Those free access points are still in use today.
“Providing free, high-speed internet to refugees meant a short message could reunite a family, even if geographically distant,” said Viasat’s President of Global Fixed Broadband Evan Dixon, who accepted the award. “Just a few packets of data offered reassurance that loved ones were still safe or where to meet to reunite.”