Astranis is a company headquartered in San Francisco, California, that is building small telecommunications satellites that aim to provide internet service to regions where access is unavailable. The company already tested a prototype satellite in orbit and is now ready to manufacture and launch its first operational commercial satellite for telecommunication company Pacific Dataport Inc (PDI). The commercial satellite is called ‘Arcturus’, it will provide internet service to the U.S. State of Alaska.
The company previously planned to launch the small 400-kilogram satellite atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9, today Astranis representatives announced that they will launch it atop a powerful Falcon Heavy rocket in Spring 2022 as secondary payload.
Astranis said in a press release that they opted to change launch vehicle because Falcon Heavy will be capable of directly placing the communications satellite in geostationary orbit. “The mission profile will allow the spacecraft to arrive at its orbital slot within days of launch and removes the need for a multiple-month orbit raise from a highly-elliptical geostationary transfer orbit (GTO),” representatives stated on September 23.
“Launching on Falcon Heavy will get us on-orbit months faster, allowing us to serve customers in Alaska that much sooner. This is a huge win for our customers in Alaska,” said Astranis CEO John Gedmark. Astranis says that once their satellite is operational it will “roughly triple the currently available satellite capacity in Alaska while also bringing costs down to one third of current pricing for both residential and wholesale customers.”
“Working with the entire Astranis team has been a wonderful experience and we’re excited to see our satellite readied for launch. There are more than 100,000 rural Alaskans who are ready for an affordable broadband connection and Astranis is helping us bring them modern connectivity. This is a really big deal for Alaska,” Pacific Dataport CEO Chuck Schumann stated.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX