The satellite industry is waiting patiently for the launch of ViaSat-2 in 2016, the follow-up to ViaSat-1, which is the platform for the current Exede satellite broadband service and the highest capacity communications satellite in the world. ViaSat-2 will be even higher capacity and will have an expanded footprint covering the entire continental United States and airplane flight paths to the United Kingdom.
But ViaSat is looking further beyond 2016. Recently it filed a “Proposed Minor Modification and Notification of Change of Satellite Name” with the FCC. The document declares ViaSat’s intention to rename an earlier-filed geostationary satellite project as “ViaSat-3.” “ViaSat has entered into a contract for the construction of the satellite, and this application seeks to modify the market access authorization to conform the authorized parameters to the corresponding technical parameters in the contract,” the company said in an attachment to the filing.
ViaSat does not name a target date for the ViaSat-3’s launch or give details about its capacity and other characteristics. However, it does provide a map of the planned footprint for the satellite (pictured below), which will include coverage of the entire continental United States, Mexico, and most of Canada and Central America. Like ViaSat-2, it will have coverage over the Atlantic Ocean, but not all the way to the UK.