Small satellites over earth

Small satellites

Sustainable space systems for LEO constellations 

small satellites for military helicopters

Extensive smallsat and LEO flight heritage

From components to smallsats, Viasat has a proven flight heritage in Low Earth Orbit space systems. We are currently operating on-orbit, smallsat-class space vehicles today and have an extensive library of flight-proven technologies including; intersatellite links, RF payload components (transmitters, receivers, frequency converters, and more) and phased array components. We are dedicated to testing and learning, inventing and delivering, and to pioneering state of the art commercial technology for a responsible, sustainable approach to space. 

Turnkey design and build

From mission design to scalable production, our turnkey design and build capabilities include:  

  • Mission design/analysis and space vehicle design for commercial and Department of Defense (DoD) missions
  • Network architectures for resilient constellations
  • Payload and space vehicle assembly, integration and test (AI&T)
  • Low-risk volume production based on processes and capabilities used to build ViaSat-3 class GEO satellites
  • On-site production test, environmental test, high bay facilities
  • Scalable production capacity for smallsat constellations

Vertical integration and operation for space sustainability

Viasat’s approach to small satellites provides a sustainable and responsible avenue to LEO space access. Our focus is not just on the space vehicle. Instead, we take a holistic view and focus on network building, integration, and management. Combined with our expertise in designing and manufacturing both commercial and DoD satellites, Viasat’s vertical integration in network development and operation helps conserve precious LEO resources by keeping constellation sizes sustainable.

link 16 XVI satellite

XVI LEO Satellite: Bringing the power of space to the warfighter

The XVI small satellite is the world’s first and only Link 16-enabled LEO satellite, designed to offer beyond line-of-sight communications for military operations. Operating from a 95-degree orbital inclination, the XVI test satellite will have an on-orbit lifetime of at least six months. Benefiting from interoperability with legacy Link 16 terminals already fielded across the DoD, the satellite will support multiple demonstrations in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command.

XVI will turn Link 16 into an interconnected and global capability in addition to providing an exit point into external IP and broadband internet networks, allowing users to share target tracks and access data anywhere in the World. The program will offer transformative capabilities to warfighters, including enhanced situational awareness, resiliency, and interoperability. 

Read more about the technology behind the XVI satellite

  • VIasat Readies a Small Viasat Satellite That Promises to Be A Game-Changer in Military Communications

    It’s dusk in Afghanistan and a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) crouches behind cover halfway up a mountainside. Observing the ongoing battle, the JTAC operates the AN/PRC-161 to communicate with a Link 16-enabled Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite passing overhead at an altitude of 550km and a speed of 8km per second.

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  • Viasat Contracted to Deliver the World’s First Link 16-Capable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Spacecraft

    Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today it has been awarded a contract by the Administrator of the Space Enterprise Consortium, under the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles XVI program, to deliver and test the first-ever Link 16-capable LEO spacecraft.

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  • Viasat to Deliver Enhanced Military-Grade Encryption on the First-Ever Link 16-Capable Low Earth Orbit Spacecraft

    Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, today announced it will integrate its In-line Network Encryptor (INE) into the world's first Link 16-capable low earth orbit (LEO) satellite, which Viasat is developing for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles XVI program.

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  • What is Link 16?

    First introduced in the 1970s to support air interdiction missions during the Cold War, Link 16 allows U.S. and coalition forces operating at the tactical edge to communicate securely by voice and share mission-critical data in real time across the battlespace.

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