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Viasat to Demonstrate Space Relay Service Using Loft Orbital Spacecraft

Tracking and Data Relay

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Viasat to Demonstrate Space Relay Service Using Loft Orbital Spacecraft

Viasat will install a terminal on a Loft Orbital spacecraft to demonstrate its Real-Time Space Relay service to NASA.

The demonstration mission, slated for launch in fall 2025, will be performed under a $53 million contract awarded through NASA’s Communications Services Project, which aims to assess commercial satellite communications services and technologies that could replace the aging Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system in providing near-Earth communications, Viasat said.

According to NASA’s website, the seven geosynchronous TDRS satellites relay signals between orbiting spacecraft and ground control stations on Earth. The system provides near-continuous information relay services to over 25 missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.

Viasat said its RTSR service will use its high-throughput geostationary network to enable continuous connectivity and real-time data transfer of time-sensitive mission and telemetry, tracking and command data. The demonstration will show that the space-based relay communication service can support NASA and the missions of various commercial, scientific and defense entities, the company added.

As a mission partner, Loft Orbital will also benefit from the RTSR service. “The addition of Viasat’s relay service to our space infrastructure will let our virtual mission customers deploying AI applications have continuous real-time access to their mission for time-critical applications,” said Pierre-Damien Vaujour, CEO of Loft Orbital.

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Category: Space