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ULA Signs Viasat-3 Launch Contract

Big news from ULA and Viasat:

This is the first commercial contract ULA has directly signed since assuming responsibility for the marketing and sales of the Atlas V launch vehicle from Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services earlier this year. 

The Viasat mission will carry one of the ViaSat-3 series spacecraft and is scheduled to launch in the 2020 - 2022 timeframe from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This mission will launch aboard an Atlas V 551 configuration vehicle, the largest in the Atlas V fleet. The 551 configuration provides the performance to deliver a ViaSat-3 satellite into a high-energy geostationary transfer orbit where it can begin on-orbit operations faster than with other available launch vehicles.

Viasat has booked launches on Ariane 5 and Falcon Heavy for Viasat-3, and has an option for an additional Falcon Heavy launch. They’re taking the spread-the-work-around path for their deployment, rather than the all-in approach that Iridium took with Iridium-NEXT.