US-based communications company Viasat has signed a contract to use spacecraft launch services provider United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) Atlas V vehicle for its ViaSat-3 satellite mission.

The mission will involve the launch of one of the ViaSat-3 series spacecrafts aboard an Atlas V 551 configuration vehicle into a high-energy geostationary transfer orbit.

This launch is set to take place between 2020 and 2022 from Space Launch Complex-41  at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US.

The selection of Atlas V for one of the missions will be the next step. Viasat intends to announce the mission assignments for each of the contracted launch vehicles at a later date.

Viasat said that two of the satellites will focus on the Americas, and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively.

“ULA is known for providing an innovative launch solution that is focused on mission success, which will allow us to meet our business objectives to bring high-speed, high-quality broadband connectivity.”

The company is planning a third ViaSat-3 satellite for the APAC region.

Viasat Space Systems president Dave Ryan said: “ULA is known for providing an innovative launch solution that is focused on mission success, which will allow us to meet our business objectives to bring high-speed, high-quality broadband connectivity to meet end-user demand.”

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ULA’s deal with Viasat is the first commercial contract since the company assumed complete responsibility for the marketing and sales of the Atlas V vehicle from Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services.

ULA president and CEO Tory Bruno said: “ULA’s Atlas V launch vehicle is the most reliable launch vehicle in the world and we could not be more pleased that Viasat, a leading satellite broadband innovator, has recognised the value the Atlas V can offer, and decided to select this rocket to launch its critical commercial communications satellite.”

So far, Atlas V has delivered 78 missions successfully, including 17 commercial ones. It has also launched multiple science missions for NASA.