The future of GEO: large or small?

22 August 2023 | Research

Dallas Kasaboski

Article | PDF (5 pages) | Satellite Infrastructure


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In early May, 2 GEO communications satellites launched on a Falcon Heavy rocket. It was supposed to be the next step in GEO satcom from two opposite ends of the market spectrum: Viasat’s 6-tonne powerhouse delivering massive capacity to compete with constellations, and Astranis’ Arcturus, a 300 kg platform meant to test both the “micro-GEO” and “as-a-service” models.

However, both satellites recently suffered failures; Viasat’s antenna will not deploy, and Arcturus cannot keep its solar arrays pointed at the Sun. Both missions may have to be scrapped, as a result.

As constellations continue to rise, and as a lack of GEO orders sheds doubt on this destination for communications satellites, two critical questions emerge: Is there a future for GEO communications, and which model is better, Viasat or Astranis?

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