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Optus positions for national satellite success

In a precise two-hour operation, Optus has lowered into position a 13 tonne, 13 metre satellite dish that will track, control and transmit to Australia's newest satellite when it launches next year.

Positioned by crane, the new satellite dish will be placed on a 10 tonne pedestal base, joining three other major dishes at Optus's satellite earth station at Belrose in Sydney.

The dish will transmit to and receive data from the $500 million 'C1' satellite - which will be launched on an Ariane rocket from French Guiana in the fourth quarter of 2002.

Bob Murray, General Manager of Optus's Asia-Pacific satellite business, said installing the dish completes a significant milestone in the lead up to the launch of 'C1'.

"This dish is an important piece of infrastructure - it is our link with 'C1' and will deliver the majority of Australia's satellite services.

"This project is central to Optus's plans for its international satellite business. Once in orbit, the 'C1' satellite will not only become Australia's 'hotbird' - its footprint will allow Optus to operate in the Asian market as well as New Zealand and the Pacific," Mr Murray said.

The Mitsubishi dish was originally installed in Hobart - as part of the Aussat major city earth station project - and has been fully refurbished by Sydney Engineering and Sales. The last time a dish of this size was installed at the Belrose earth station was in 1985.

For more information:
Linda Collard
Optus Public Affairs
Phone: 02 9342 5045

Note to Editor:
The dish was lowered into place by crane at 6:00am on Saturday, 15 December 2001. Digital photographs of the manoeuvre are available.