Viasat stock drops after satellite malfunction
Viasat stock drops after satellite malfunction

A long-exposure photo shows the trail left by SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket during the April 30, 2023 launch of the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite from Florida.

Via Satellite

Via SatelliteShares of the company fell in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the company disclosed that one of its recently launched communications satellites had malfunctioned.

The Carlsbad, California-based company said an “unanticipated incident” occurred while deploying the Viasat-3 Americas satellite’s reflector that “could have a significant impact on performance.” The satellite was successfully launched in April on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.

“We are disappointed by recent developments,” Viasat Chief Executive Mark Dankberg said in a statement.

Viasat shares were down 21 percent in after-hours trading from their previous close of $42.98 a share.

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Viasat did not identify the reflector manufacturer in its press release. Dankberg said his company is “working closely” with the manufacturer to resolve the issue. A Viasat spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that the manufacturer is a top aerospace and defense company, but noted that it is not Boeingbuilt the 702MP+ bus, which is the structure and power of the spacecraft.

The reflector design on the Viasat-3 Americas satellite appears to match the “AstroMesh” reflector family, Northrop Grumman advertising. Additionally, Viasat said the “long jib” supporting the reflector is a “direct derivative” of the telescoping jib, Northrop Grumman builds for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

Viasat previously expressed its gratitude to Boeing and Northrop Grumman for being part of the joint team for the Viasat-3 Americas satellite.

Northrop Grumman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

An artist’s rendering of the ViaSat-3 Americas satellite in orbit above Earth.

Via Satellite

Viasat stressed that the incident had “no impact” on existing customers, and that the company has 12 other satellites in operation.

The Viasat-3 Americas satellite is the first of three that the company has long expected to bolster its broadband offering. Viasat noted in a press release Wednesday that it may reallocate one of its two upcoming ViaSat-3 satellites to replace the failed satellite, which will serve EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and APAC (Asia Pacific) launch satellites to serve North and South America.

Industry publications The SpaceIntel report stated that If the satellite is lost, Viasat could trigger a $420 million claim. One space insurance underwriter described the situation to CNBC as a “market changing event” for the industry.


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