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Viasat Plunges on Malfunction

Baystreet - Thu Jul 13, 8:54AM CDT
Viasat’s (NASDAQ: VSAT) stock dropped in early trading on Thursday after the company disclosed its most recently launched communications satellite suffered a malfunction.

The Carlsbad, California-based company on Wednesday said an “unexpected event occurred” while deploying the reflector of its Viasat-3 Americas satellite “that may materially impact” performance. The satellite launched successfully in April on SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.

“We’re disappointed by the recent developments,” Viasat CEO Mark Dankberg said in a statement.

Viasat did not disclose the identity of the reflector’s manufacturer in its release. Dankberg said his company is “working closely” with the manufacturer to resolve the problem. A Viasat spokesperson confirmed that the manufacturer is a top aerospace and defense company – but noted that it is not Boeing (NYSE:BA), which built the 702MP+ bus that is the spacecraft’s structure and power.

The design of the reflector on the Viasat-3 Americas satellite appear to match the “AstroMesh” line of reflectors that Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) advertises. Additionally, Viasat has said the “long boom arm” that supports the reflector is a “direct derivative” of the telescoping booms that Northrop Grumman built for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

Viasat has previously thanked both Boeing and Northrop Grumman as part of its combined team behind the Viasat-3 Americas satellite.

Viasat emphasized that “there is no disruption” for existing customers due to the incident, with the company having 12 other satellites in service.

Viasat stock withered $14.69, or 34.1%, to $28.30.

Provided Content: Content provided by Baystreet. The Globe and Mail was not involved, and material was not reviewed prior to publication.