As Viasat prepares for the upcoming launches of its three ViaSat-3 satellites, one piece of the ground puzzle was recently put into place in the UK. Arqiva, a British communications infrastructure company, installed a 9-meter Ku-band antenna for Viasat at one of its UK teleports.
The build, completed in just eight weeks, is for a different type of antenna than those that will be used by the Ka-band ViaSat-3 constellation for satellite internet. This antenna is for telemetry, tracking, and command — or TT&C — which will allow Viasat to control the satellite once it’s in its orbital slot in geostationary orbit. TT&C includes station keeping — maintaining the satellite’s position in space. The antenna will also be used to send ranging commands (tracking) to measure the exact position of the satellite. The satellite also transmits a telemetry carrier that gives details of the health and status of the onboard systems.
The UK-built antenna will be associated with the second ViaSat-3 satellite covering Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
“We are genuinely delighted to have been given the opportunity to build the new ViaSat-3 TT&C antenna,” said Lesley Wilson, head of Satellite Gateway and Data Services at Arqiva. “Ensuring it was successfully completed in just eight weeks was a major achievement and reflects the excellent collaboration between the Viasat and Arqiva teams.”
Arqiva’s teleport was a strong choice for Viasat because it meets all the requirements for a best-in-class Earth station location. Those include high-level security, connectivity and resilience, alongside on-site technical expertise.
Arqiva accesses 40+ satellites and owns five teleports and about 1,450 terrestrial broadcast sites across the United Kingdom.
“Our experience in designing, building and managing critical national infrastructure, underpinned by our technical capability in operating Tier 4 teleports and commitment to the highest levels of security, makes us an ideal partner to host the ViaSat-3 TT&C antenna,” Wilson said. “Working closely together throughout the project and ensuring a strong relationship has led to the success of this new build as we expand our collaboration with Viasat.”
(Rignet, a Viasat Company and offshore service provider, has been a long-term customer of Arqiva’s).