Monday, March 21, 2011

Optus Selects Space Systems/Loral for new Optus 10 Satellite

Image Credit: Optus

Australian Telecommunications provider Optus has selected Space Systems/Loral for its new Optus 10 telecommunications satellite.

The satellite will feature 24 Ku band transponders, and will cover both Australia and New Zealand. The satellite is expected to have a 15 year design life, and will provide broadcasting and fixed satellite services.

In an unusual design move, the satellite is expected to be smaller than comparable satellites, weighing in at about 3,200kg, with suggestion that the satellite will use ion-electric propulsion. It will be built in Palo Alto, California by Space Systems/Loral, and is expected to be delivered in 2013.

Whilst Space Systems/Loral manufactured the Optus C1 satellite, since then, Optus has used Orbital Sciences Corporation for satellite manufacture.

The satellite is not expected to be replacing any of Optus' existing satellite fleet - rather, it is expected to be adding additional capacity on top of current levels. Optus has also moved away from its previous naming convention (A, B, C and D series of Satellites) to a strictly number based convention.

No Launcher for the Optus 10 satellite has been announced yet, however if the weight remains at 3,200kg, it may be able to take a dual launch slot on an Ariane 5 launcher.

Optus 10 is likely to be the start of several Australian satellites to be purchased in the next year or two, with NBNCo close to announcing the provider for two Ka-band satellites, as well as plans by NewSat to launch their own Jabiru telecommunications satellite.

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