ViaSat-1 Damaged in Factory Mishap

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PARIS — The launch of the ViaSat-1 consumer broadband satellite will be delayed by several months, to this summer, following an incident at manufacturer Space Systems/Loral that damaged the satellite while it was being moved, ViaSat Inc. said Jan. 13.

The delay will mean that Carlsbad, Calif.-based ViaSat will have several more months during which it will have to rely on its current, inadequate satellite resources to manage the WildBlue consumer broadband service in the United States. WildBlue’s growth in the past two years has been stunted because of a lack of in-orbit capacity covering high-demand areas in the United States.

In a Jan. 13, statement, WildBlue said the new launch date gives Loral time to repair and retest ViaSat-1. “All costs related to the repair and re-testing of the satellite are being assumed” by Loral, ViaSat said.

In addition to being the satellite’s builder, Loral, through its parent company, Loral Space and Communications of New York, is a part owner of ViaSat-1. Loral has purchased the capacity on the satellite dedicated to Canadian coverage and has sold much of it to Canadian consumer broadband providers.