Blue Origin and Viasat Want Government to Help Them Against SpaceX

Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper Laboratory previously lost a bid to build a human lunar lander for NASA to SpaceX. Jeff Bezos’ company bid $6 billion to build one lander but NASA awarded $2.89 billion to SpaceX.

Blue Origin’s team and Dynetics filed separate protests with the Government Accountability Office. The GAO has until Aug 4, 2021 to rule if NASA can keep its contract award with SpaceX.

There is now a battle in congress over a funding bill to award an additional $10 billion to at least two competitors for the human lunar lander system. Jeff Bezos has a few senators working for him but he is opposed by Bernie Sanders and others.

Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. The Washington Post is arguing in support of the additional NASA funding.

Viasat Asks for an Environmental Review and Halt of SpaceX Launches

Viasat’s May 21 filing to the FCC argues that environmental harms should be reviewed before granting SpaceX’s satellite application. Viasat argues orbital debris, light pollution and the effect disintegrating satellites could have on the atmosphere.

If the FCC does not stop Space Starlink launches by June 1, then Viasat will go to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. They will ask for a stay and review of the modification order which permits Starlink launches.

In April, former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine joined Viasat’s board of directors.

Viasat uses traditional geostationary satellites located 22,000 miles above the Earth. Viasat offers plans up to 100 Mbps in select regions with most areas having access to plans of up to 30 Mbps. This is roughly equal to some faster DSL plans. Upload speeds max out at 3 Mbps. The 44,000 mile round trip to and from the geostationary satellite adds 600 – 800 milliseconds of latency to the connection. This makes satellite internet completely unsuitable for anything latency sensitive including VoIP and online gaming.

Viasat has a lower data cap. Viasat plans range between 12 and 100 gigabytes per month in high-speed bandwidth. This is not enough if you plan to use streaming video services including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and YouTube for more than a few hours per month.

SpaceX Starlink latency is about 30-80 milliseconds. The average is about 40 milliseconds. SpaceX has downloads speeds of about 40-150 Mbps. SpaceX Starlink has about 30 Mbps upload speeds.

If SpaceX continues to launch then the extra satellites will double the number of people who could use the system by the end of 2021 and could double the number of users on the system again by the end of 2022. SpaceX Starlink has 500,000 pre-orders.

Viasat plans range from $69.99 up to $149.99 for most residential plans. They offer discounts for the first 3 months of service. Commercial plans are available at an additional cost. This is expensive compared to other non satellite options especially when you factor in the data caps.

Viasat installation costs $99 .99 and equipment rental cost about $10 per month for the lifetime of your service.

Starlink internet service costs $99 per month during the public beta. This is similar to top tier packages from Comcast and Verizon. Speeds are currently lower than what most people get with similarly priced terrestrial services.

The Starlink equipment starter kit costs $499 and includes everything you need to get started using Starlink internet service.

Viasat reported stable revenue of $2.3 billion for its 2021 fiscal year. Viasat’s 2021 results showed a boost in operating income and net income compared to the year prior. Operating income was $58.2 million, up from $38.4 million in fiscal year 2020. Net income was $3.7 million, up from $200,000 in fiscal year 2020. Government Systems is Viasat’s highest-performing segment, at about $1.1 billion in revenue for the year. Commercial Networks is the smallest segment, and reported $320.9 million in revenue. For FY2022, Viasat sees a strong outlook for Satellite Services, especially in In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) and enterprise markets.

SOURCES – Satellite Today, Wikipedia, Space News
Written By Brian Wang,

16 thoughts on “Blue Origin and Viasat Want Government to Help Them Against SpaceX”

  1. Viasat has an inferior product and wants the government to throw up roadblocks to their competition. Blue Origin? Well, enough said. We don't need another expensive CGI company to zombify with public funds.

    Bezos has enough money to compete with SpaceX if he cared enough and exerted himself. If he doesn't care, does not exert himself and does not spend the money he has hoarded then he gets what he deserves. Elon has almost gone bankrupt several times to get where he is, took the risks, exerted himself, dreamed the dream and turned it into reality offering humanity a brighter future. In other words, he earned it and in this case chance favored the prepared. My tax dollars are well spent for once.

  2. ..and its not slowing down – virgin galactic – sub-orbital –? 600+ paid on waiting list, mor than 2 – 3 years in future….

  3. meh. procedural. The due diligence and daily dramas of the Princes of Spaceflights Future. Jockeying for position, favor, and influence. Can't believe for a moment that the demand for 'access to orbit' will be satiated with the current trajectory of SpaceX production and that Starship/ Falcon etc will provide all things to all people such that these half-dozen competitors and a half-dzoen non-foreign entities cannot all bring some useful service, tech, or product into the 'Roaring 20s' of cis-lunar development – yeha.

  4. probably a ripe time to attack as 'monopoly in tech' seems a bad word right now – even just the appearence of irrational levels of success turns heads. Haven't seen the 'predatory' crushing and undercutting of up-and-coming competitors that one would mostly need to make that case – just the failing of others to develop and deliver.

  5. Agreed. Seems almost to have a Royal presence. To write his memoirs – one of the top 20 all-time 'influencers' of society – sort of a Wright Bros 'moment in time'

  6. I haven't noticed the difference very much when I stream. Maybe twice a day the buffer runs dry.
    Voice and video conferencing is affected for probably several seconds every five minutes or so, but that will surely improve drastically if the constellation fills out as planned. There will eventually (I assume) be very little mechanical positioning and mostly beam steering to passing sats.
    Perhaps if I lived in San Diego or some other well-served metropolis I would have waited, but my opinion is that Suddenlink is a horrible service and I cannot wait to get away. The unexpected overages were very annoying, the higher speed option did not really improve things very much with lag spikes and service loss interfering with gameplay (on the other hand, I credit them for giving it up).
    At $125/mo minimum, just for data, I will have this paid back in two years.
    Not sorry.

  7. Musk is probably an android – no one can possibly be that productive and successful with so few serious competitors. One in a generation.

  8. The Game of Billionaires – someone should write a book.
    Its is quite shocking at the accomplishments Musk appears to be attaining. He really can't be that smart or productive-even DaVinci reportedly slept 1 hour in 4. The key must be a perfect storm of 'whatever he needs-funding', 'whatever he wants-access to land, supply chains, highly regulated zones of air and space', 'an insatiable herd of top notch technical staff; utterly available, devoted, and flexible', 'a team of handlers and consultants that jump at his every whim and command' -and- Primarily, just that once-in-a-century timing when so many industries of some relation were just at the brimming cusp of greatness, with the tech, talent, and money available but scattered and unfocused in an environment of post-Apollo, post-Shuttle, post-EV1 (hah – remember that from the 90s?), and post-SpaceLab/ ISS malaise. Also including post-CO2 fanaticism, increasing-SUV use, and accelerating made-in-USA tech hand-waving.

  9. Lockheed Martin and the OLD crowd spends 20 times as much to develop space craft. The space craft do not work well and require huge maintenance costs. And do not get me started on that poor poor Bezos the richest man in the world who thinks he is a genius since he was the first mover and now dominates an industry. He wants to play with rockets and now want the government to pay so he can catch up with Musk. That Musk is capturing Bezos grandeur and glory and will pass him in wealth. Then we watch the capitol hill lap dogs all barking about competition and fairness when it comes to Musk while turning a blind eye to Amazon and face book and google monopolies. It is all laughable.

    And yes you Musk haters Musk has taken some money from the Government but a fraction of what Lockheed has take and be has produced 20 times as muck in 1/10 the time. He under bid by over 50% and will deliver over 10 times the payload the competition has promised and at a fixed price contract. And it will not be a long drawn out development effort Bezos is proposing.

    Go away Musk haters.

  10. If you have the wrong place, you are not winning. He is winning the race to Mars, however, not that that matters.

  11. Meanwhile, the virtuous Musk, who has read "The High Frontier" by G. K. O'Neill and now understands Space, is stopping all gov money to his stuff. Just kidding. On both.

  12. They should get help, but for building viable responses to SpaceX. Why not? SpaceX also developed its rocket with hefty sums of government money.

  13. Bernie Sander came out against Jeff Bezos today and has proposed a bill against Bezos`s attempt to force his $6 billion lander on NASA.

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