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Viasat's Real-Time Earth Ground Station Now Open in Australia


June 30, 2020

Viasat Inc. announced today the official launch of its Real-Time Earth (RTE) facility in Alice Springs, Australia.

Viasat partnered with the Centre for Appropriate Technology Ltd (CfAT), an Aboriginal not-for-profit science and technology company based in Alice Springs, which built and owns the new facility through its wholly-owned commercial subsidiary CfAT Satellite Enterprises Pty Ltd, and Indigenous Business Australia (IBA), an Australian Commonwealth commercially-focused government authority, which helped finance the project and provides related commercial advice and support.

Viasat's RTE network provides Ground-Station-as-a-Service (GSaaS) to the earth observation and remote sensing community. The service offers affordability and reduced latency through automation and geographic diversity on a pay-per-use basis. Viasat's RTE service will be able to support next-generation and legacy low earth orbit satellites using the S-, X-, and Ka-bands, which will enable operators to meet today's and tomorrow's data requirements.

"We are delighted to announce the Viasat RTE facility in Alice Springs is now open for business," said John Williams, vice president of Real-Time Earth at Viasat. "CfAT, IBA and the Alice Springs community-at-large were instrumental in executing this impressive RTE ground station. This new facility will enable the advancement of how critical data for environmental, shipping, oil and gas, government among other industries is delivered on-demand around the world."

Peter Renehan, CEO of CfAT Ltd, said, "It is a huge achievement for CfAT to have built this amazing Viasat RTE facility. Working with great support from our partners Viasat and IBA, we have demonstrated that CfAT can continue to contribute positively to technology and critical space advancements, which will benefit Indigenous people and communities in outback Australia, as well as the broader Australian economy. The project has already delivered important skills transfer to Aboriginal people. We were very proud of the local Aboriginal workers who developed new skills and successfully assembled the two 7.3m antennas. The local economy has also benefited, with $1 million spent during the construction phase on local businesses, including two wholly-owned Aboriginal companies. CfAT is also contracted by Viasat to provide on-site facilities management and on-going site maintenance. The future looks bright, and we are looking forward to building on our business relationships with Viasat and IBA to bring this new technology to Australia."

Rajiv Viswanathan, CEO of IBA, said, "Built and owned by our Indigenous partner CfAT, this RTE facility is a nationally significant infrastructure development which will help to completely transform the geospatial analytics and earth observation industries in Australia. We are incredibly proud of CfAT's achievement. The successful construction of this facility shows the whole world that Aboriginal people can be at the forefront of new technology industries in Australia. CfAT is a successful Aboriginal corporation that has for many years been at the vanguard of technology innovation and application in remote Australia. Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CfAT and its subsidiary Ekistica successfully developed this facility with Viasat. CfAT now have an exceptional opportunity to grow its business in Australia as it looks to generate commercial returns for CfAT as well as flow-on benefits for end-users of geospatial data such as local Indigenous land and sea managers. We are proud to support CfAT in realizing their ambitions for growth in the space sector."