Following Successful Launch, ViaSat-2 Prepares for Huge In-Flight Wi-Fi Boost
Like with any rocket launch, there was a bit of risk surrounding last night's mission, when ViaSat's brand-new high-capacity satellite, ViaSat-2, made its way from a South American town just north of the equator to its new home in space. Well, near its new home, at least — over the next few months, the 14,000-pound satellite will complete its journey to final geostationary orbit, at which point it'll finally be ready to use its 300 gigabit-per-second throughput to beam super-speedy Wi-Fi between the earth and commercial aircraft flying above.
So what does that mean for you? Faster, cheaper in-flight Wi-Fi, with much broader coverage. In other words, last night's launch was a very big deal for those of us who depend on reliable connectivity at 30,000 feet.
ViaSat is one of the three most prevalent in-flight connectivity providers in the US — the other two being Gogo and Panasonic. ViaSat provides service to United, Virgin America (Alaska) and JetBlue via its ViaSat-1 satellite. American Airlines has signed on for service as well, which will launch with the Boeing 737 MAX. Following a modem and antenna upgrade, existing aircraft should be able to connect to ViaSat-2 as well, which will provide coverage throughout North America, along with parts of South America, the Caribbean and sections of the Atlantic Ocean (covering transatlantic flights).
ViaSat-2 is expected to reach its final orbit sometime in October. Following a launch for residential customers in late-2017, we should expect to see the first commercial aircraft connect to ViaSat-2 early next year.
For more on this week's launch, see What ViaSat 2 Means for the Future of In-Flight Wi-Fi.
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