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Viasat and Rocket Lab Partner to Showcase On-Demand, Low-Latency Data Relay Services for LEO Satellites

Viasat selected Rocket Lab to support its NASA CSP program demonstrations of multi-band space-relay capabilities

Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global leader in satellite communications, today announced it selected Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company, to support Viasat’s hybrid space communications networks demonstrations by producing a spacecraft bus and providing mission operation support. The demonstrations will make evident Viasat’s portfolio of multi-band, space-based relay communication services in support of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space missions with substantial flexibility in managing data, with lower data latency and higher throughput in real time.

The demonstrations are part of Viasat’s work across two awards, totaling $80 million, under NASA’s Communications Services Project (CSP), which is evaluating commercial satellite communications services and technologies to support NASA near-Earth communications requirements as it sunsets the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS).

LEO satellites typically require direct line-of-sight to a ground station to communicate, introducing significant data latency into the mission operations. Viasat’s Ka- and L-band relay solutions are designed to address this challenge with near real-time, low-data latency communications. The Real-Time Space Relay (RTSR) space-qualified Ka-band terminal will use Viasat’s high-capacity Ka-band network of satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO) to enable LEO operators on-demand access to critical mission data. The InCommand system will use Viasat’s global L-band network to provide real-time telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) operations at any point in the spacecraft’s orbit. Rocket Lab will also provide a new L-band radio for InCommand called Frontier, which will support demonstrations of various TT&C applications.

Scheduled to launch in early 2026, the demonstration mission will also include direct-to-ground communications through Viasat’s Real-Time Earth (RTE) Ground-Station-as-a-Service for S-, X-, and Ka-bands. All transports will be integrated through Viasat’s Integrated Space Access Network (ISAN) to show the benefits of adaptable transport, giving LEO operators the ability to access data while balancing network availability, cost, and time-sensitive applications.

“We are proud to support NASA with this critically needed real-time space relay communications capability and excited about our continuing partnership with Rocket Lab to support Viasat’s growing space missions portfolio,” said Michael Maughan, Vice President of Space and Mission Systems, Viasat Government Systems. “From Earth observation and scientific missions to supporting defense operations, we designed our space relay services to be a highly flexible, cost effective and scalable solution for both government and commercial LEO operators to transport data based on application and mission needs.”

Rocket Lab Vice President of Space Systems, Brad Clevenger, said: “Rocket Lab spacecraft are built on configurable, high-performance subsystems based on constellation-class manufacturing. By providing a configurable platform that can be tailored to suit even the most complex missions, our customers can focus on their own novel hardware and services and leave the development and operation of the spacecraft to us. We look forward to supporting Viasat on the NASA CSP mission, as it will also add responsive satellite communications capabilities to our configurable platform.”

The Rocket Lab spacecraft will provide the power, communications, propulsion, and attitude control for the mission demonstration. Rocket Lab will incorporate its own satellite components and sub-systems into the spacecraft including star trackers, reaction wheels, solar panels, S-band radios, flight software and ground software, and the new L-band radio in development for the future InCommand service.

Visit the Viasat website for more information and background on Viasat’s intersatellite communications service.

About Viasat

Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. With offices in 24 countries around the world, our mission shapes how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate and connect. Viasat is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, reliable, secure, affordable, fast connections to positively impact people's lives anywhere they are—on the ground, in the air or at sea, while building a sustainable future in space. In May 2023, Viasat completed its acquisition of Inmarsat, combining the teams, technologies and resources of the two companies to create a new global communications partner. Learn more at, the Viasat News Room or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X or YouTube.

Copyright © 2024 Viasat, Inc. All rights reserved. Viasat, the Viasat logo and the Viasat Signal are registered trademarks in the U.S. and in other countries of Viasat, Inc. All other product or company names mentioned are used for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier, and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, the Photon satellite platform, and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 177 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch pad in

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements about Viasat’s agreement with Rocket Lab; the features, expected benefits and performance of Viasat's Real-Time Space Relay service; the InCommand system capability through the L-band network; the features of the high-capacity Viasat satellite constellation in geostationary orbit; the development of the Ka-band terminal to enable LEO operators access to the Viasat network for data transfer; and the timing of the Rocket Lab mission and in-space demonstrations. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: our ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the Viasat high-capacity Ka-band GEO satellites and any future satellite we may construct or acquire; construction, launch and operation of satellites, including the effect of any anomaly, operational failure or degradation in satellite performance; contractual problems, product defects, manufacturing issues or delays, regulatory issues, technologies not being developed according to anticipated schedules, or that do not perform according to expectations; delays in approving U.S. government budgets and cuts in government defense expenditures; and increased competition and other factors affecting the government and defense sectors generally. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in Viasat's SEC filings available at, including Viasat's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. Viasat undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.


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