Astranis says its first internet satellite is working ‘perfectly’ as it readies coverage for Alaska

Astranis says its first internet satellite is working ‘perfectly’ as it readies coverage for Alaska

Credit Cards





Credit Monitoring

Personal Finance

Small Business


Help for Low Credit Scores



All Credit Cards

Find the Credit Card for You

Best Credit Cards

Best Rewards Credit Cards

Best Travel Credit Cards

Best 0% APR Credit Cards

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Best Cash Back Credit Cards

Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

Best Credit Cards to Build Credit


All Loans

Find the Best Personal Loan for You

Best Personal Loans

Best Debt Consolidation Loans

Best Loans to Refinance Credit Card Debt

Best Loans with Fast Funding

Best Small Personal Loans

Best Large Personal Loans

Best Personal Loans to Apply Online

Best Student Loan Refinance


All Banking

Find the Savings Account for You

Best High Yield Savings Accounts

Best Big Bank Savings Accounts

Best Big Bank Checking Accounts

Best No Fee Checking Accounts

No Overdraft Fee Checking Accounts

Best Checking Account Bonuses

Best Money Market Accounts

Best CDs

Best Credit Unions


All Mortgages

Best Mortgages

Best Mortgages for Small Down Payment

Best Mortgages for No Down Payment

Best Mortgages with No Origination Fee

Best Mortgages for Average Credit Score

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Affording a Mortgage


All Insurance

Best Life Insurance

Best Homeowners Insurance

Best Renters Insurance

Best Car Insurance

Travel Insurance


All Credit Monitoring

Best Credit Monitoring Services

Best Identity Theft Protection

How to Boost Your Credit Score

Credit Repair Services


All Personal Finance

Best Budgeting Apps

Best Expense Tracker Apps

Best Money Transfer Apps

Best Resale Apps and Sites

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Apps

Best Debt Relief


All Small Business

Best Small Business Savings Accounts

Best Small Business Checking Accounts

Best Credit Cards for Small Business

Best Small Business Loans

Best Tax Software for Small Business


All Taxes

Best Tax Software

Best Tax Software for Small Businesses

Tax Refunds


All Help for Low Credit Scores

Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Best Debt Consolidation Loans for Bad Credit

Personal Loans if You Don't Have Credit

Best Credit Cards for Building Credit

Personal Loans for 580 Credit Score or Lower

Personal Loans for 670 Credit Score or Lower

Best Mortgages for Bad Credit

Best Hardship Loans

How to Boost Your Credit Score


All Investing

Best IRA Accounts

Best Roth IRA Accounts

Best Investing Apps

Best Free Stock Trading Platforms

Best Robo-Advisors

Index Funds

Mutual Funds



Astranis, a San Francisco-based company with an alternative approach to providing internet access from satellites, has its first spacecraft in orbit, and the company on Wednesday said it's working perfectly.

We have a new way of connecting people in some of the most remote and underserved parts of the world, Astranis CEO John Gedmark told CNBC.

The company's small satellite, built largely in-house and named Arcturus, was deployed May 1 after launching on SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket and recently arrived in its orbit. Astranis has already completed tests with the satellite, including connecting to user equipment in its service target of Alaska for the first time.

This test validates everything that we've been working on and working towards and it's a huge, huge deal, Gedmark said.

Astranis' is one of a number of next-generation broadband satellite systems in development, as companies race to meet a growing global demand for data — including SpaceX's Starlink, British-owned OneWeb, Amazon's Project Kuiper, AST SpaceMobile and others.

But the company's approach is the third way to providing broadband service from space, Gedmark said. The company's dishwasher-sized satellite combines the small form factor of satellites such as SpaceX's Starlink in low Earth orbit with the distant, geosynchronous orbit of traditional players such as Viasat.

Geosynchronous orbit, or GEO, is about 22,000 miles away from the planet's surface — a position that allows the spacecraft to stay above a fixed location, matching the Earth's rotation.

Arcturus is a fraction of the size and cost of traditional GEO satellites.

We can build these satellites very quickly compared to what has come before, Gedmark said.

Sign up here to receive weekly editions of CNBC's Investing in Space newsletter.

Astranis highlighted 13 completed major milestones for Arcturus in a press release. Gedmark emphasized that the company is incredibly proud of the satellite's performance thus far, fending off both the super harsh radiation environment and extreme temperature range that GEO spacecraft experience.

Gedmark said Arcturus is operating about 10% to 15% above specification, which translates to about 8.5 gigabits per second of total capacity. For users, Astranis expects its satellites will deliver download speeds of about 25 megabits per second.

Arcturus is positioned above Alaska, where Astranis' first customer — telecommunications provider Pacific Dataport — will use it to triple the data speeds available to users across the state. Gedmark said about 40% of Alaskans don't have access to reliable broadband internet, which is a shocking number that demonstrates how starved of satellite capacity the state has been.

We cover about the entire state, including many of the most remote islands on the Aleutian chain, Gedmark said, adding that Arcturus will allow hundreds of thousands of people to get true broadband internet.

Much of Astranis' target users are enterprises — such as industrial companies, schools and hospitals — rather than individual or residential customers.

The company expects Arcturus to begin service in mid-June after it completes further verification steps.

Astranis has raised over $350 million since its founding in 2015, at a valuation of over $1 billion, with investors including BlackRock, Fidelity, Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford and Venrock. The company has more than 300 employees.

As for raising more funding, Gedmark said the company remains in a strong cash position and is currently focused on making sure it gets service operational as soon as possible, for people who really needed that internet yesterday.

Astranis has a demand pipeline worth over $1 billion, representing orders for 10 satellites, over the next two years.

It expects to launch four more satellites later this year on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. One of those four is under a deal with Latin American service provider Grupo Andesat, to provide satellites that would bring improved broadband access to as many as 3 million people in Peru. Two others are for mobility-focused Anuvu, which provides services such as in-flight WiFi for Southwest Airlines, and the final satellite is for an unnamed commercial customer.

Gedmark has previously estimated the market for broadband demand is a $1 trillion global opportunity and noted that Astranis' existing pipeline features contracts that have options for additional satellites.

We're ready to go out and deploy many of these satellites all over the world and help get people connected, Gedmark said.

Got a confidential news tip? We want to hear from you.

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox

Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services.

© 2023 CNBC LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Division of NBCUniversal

Data is a real-time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes. Global Business and Financial News, Stock Quotes, and Market Data and Analysis.

Data also provided by