Alaska satellite launched into orbit

Alaska satellite headed to space
Published: Apr. 30, 2023 at 4:42 PM AKDT
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (KTUU) - After three launch delays, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday.

On board is the Aurora 4A satellite from Pacific Dataport in Alaska.

“This Alaskan project is, is finally coming to fruition today,” said Shawn Williams, Vice President of Government Affairs and Strategy.

Williams said the Aurora 4A will cover Alaska with enough broadband to connect about 10,000 people.

Launched at 4:29 p.m. Alaska Time Sunday, Aurora 4A will be a “middle mile” service, which is a source that connects a community with the Internet in the Lower 48.

“With his new, ubiquitous coverage and middle mile, it allows the telecoms and providers throughout Alaska to connect communities that have never been connected,” Williams said. “Alaska is getting a lot of money for fiber build-out, but it’s going to take years. It’s going to take three to seven years for everyone to get their build-out done and there still be; there will still be areas that are not covered with fiber.

“If the telecoms that (have) a fiber award, in their hands at the moment they’re building, if they build out their last mile first in the community, they can use this technology to get people connected within a month or two. And then whenever the fiber shows up, you can use the satellite middle mile as a backup, and then have fiber be the primary. What we don’t want to see is people waiting seven years to get the fiber that the federal government is going to fund.”

Williams said it will take four to six weeks for Aurora 4A to get into its geosynchronous position over Alaska. There are two other satellites onboard Falcon Heavy.

The first two delays were caused by technical issues, according to Williams.