Looking ahead: Viasat in the UK

ViaSat-3 global constellation poised to be a powerful tool for UK Prosperity in Industrial Space Expansion and Leadership


Viasat is a global communications company which, for more than 30 years, has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, Viasat UK provides deep security and communications expertise to rapidly deliver new sovereign technologies to the UK’s civilian and defence markets - including the Royal Air Force’s new F-35 stealth fighter and Royal Navy warships.

Viasat is a global leader when it comes to the amount of geostationary satellite (GEO) capacity on orbit. With its upcoming ViaSat-3 constellation, the company expects to greatly expand that capacity across most of the globe.

As part of this expanding space network, Viasat is investing in the UK and considering bringing significant foreign investment and creating over 75 new high-skilled network, analysis and cyber roles.

With the UK representing a commercially competitive opportunity, Viasat UK is searching for grants to support the investment business case and establish that the UK is the best location for this space growth and expansion.

Project scope

The ViaSat-3 constellation will require significant ground infrastructure and operational support. An investment within the UK could bring the following opportunities:

  • Satellite ground station for telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C);
  • Data centre requirements with associated fibre and infrastructure work;
  • Satellite control centre for flight operations of the constellation;
  • Network operations centre for managing the data and ground information systems;
  • Cyber security centre for assured and resilient data management;
  • Sovereign data extraction;
  • Further indirect innovation investments to the wider space, cyber, data, AI and machine learning ecosystem.

Investment locations

It is estimated that up to seven high-performance data centre facilities will be required. These can be located around the UK subject to the required fibre access where they are most cost-effective. Additional location(s) will be required for the TT&C ground stations.

Network operations and space flight operations would form part of the campus expansion currently planned in the Farnborough area to host remote sites to support this activity around the country. Cyber security could be located in the campus or in a location amongst other similarly skilled businesses.

In addition to the construction and fibre installation works, more than 75 long-term jobs associated with the sites would include positions in IP network ops and security, data centre personnel, flight ops, network operations, space and cyber operations and more.

Network advantages

The new high-capacity satellite network will offer significant benefits to homes, businesses, government and defence.

This rapidly deployable solution will offer a viable commercial alternative to expensive infrastructure, given the time and cost of digging/laying fibre or building base stations for LTE networks.

Securing data extraction in the UK will offer a multiplier for sovereign effects on control and assurance. The technological advances in cyber security and jam-resistant satellite management can be coupled with encryption devices and monitoring, allowing the use of the communications at secret and above-secret levels and outperforming the assurance demanded by the likes of the Cabinet Office.

Currently our global Cyber Security Operations Centre analyses over 30TB of data and 5.5bn security events each day to assure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and services. We identify, contextualise and track threats in coordination with government and private organisations. This results in a high quality, live network providing uninterrupted connectivity with intelligence.

Looking ahead

The creation of campus footprints and centres of excellence in the UK provide for expanded potential onward opportunities such as:

  • Satellite to Satellite: delivery of low earth orbit (LEO) satellite data to ground stations; LEO satellite data to ground via high throughput geostationary (GEO) relay satellites; secure data delivery globally via IP terrestrial network; and
  • Real-Time Earth (RTE): Integrated networks for low latency delivery of earth observation imagery and sensory data.

The expansion possibility to the sovereign footprint will not only create high tech network and analyst roles but also develop the space and computer science skills and roles of the future.