Viasat chose the SpaceX Falcon Heavy for its ability to fly a near direct-injection mission, inserting a ViaSat-3 satellite extremely close to geostationary orbit—as a result, the spacecraft can begin in-orbit testing (IOT) quickly after launch, rather than spending weeks or months performing orbit raising maneuvers. This is expected to enable Viasat to turn on its ultra-high-speed broadband service much quicker after launch than is possible with other launch vehicles.
Just a few weeks back they announced the selection of ULA for a ViaSat-3 launch, and now they’ve firmed up what was an existing option for a Falcon Heavy launch in the 2020–2022 timeframe—the same timeframe as the ULA mission.
Falcon Heavy’s manifest continues to grow, even as we’re a few months out from the second flight. I wonder how many more customers we’ll see sign on for direct-to-GEO missions (or near-direct, like this flight) on Falcon Heavy.