Following the successful launch of the C1 satellite, Optus announced today it has entered into a contract with Arianespace to orbit its D1 and D2 satellites.
The satellites will be sent into orbit by Ariane and Soyuz launchers from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana over the next few years.
Optus Managing Director, Networks, Bill Hope, said the decision to build the satellites was made after Optus received increased demand for its satellite services following the successful launch and deployment of the C1 satellite.
"A significant portion of the D-series satellite capacity has already been taken in a 15-year deal with Sky TV to provide subscription television services to its customers in New Zealand.
"The D-series will also replace Optus' B1 and B3 satellites, which are nearing retirement age, as well as provide two-way voice and data communication services to areas in and around Australia."
Optus D1 will be launched by an Ariane 5 launcher at the end of 2005 and Optus D2 will be launched by a Soyuz launcher in 2007.
Mr Hope said Optus would make history with the launch of its D2 satellite.
"The launch of our D2 satellite will be the first time a Soyuz launcher has lifted off from the Guiana Space Centre. Soyuz has a long history of launches from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan and is used for all current Russian manned missions to space.
"In addition we will be the first Arianespace customer to incorporate an alternate back- up launch vehicle as part of our launch programme," Mr Hope said.
Richard Bowles, Director of Arianespace said Optus' selection of Arianespace follows two previous successful launches for the carrier.
"Optus and the Department of Defence's C1 satellite and Optus" A3 satellite was launched by Arianespace in June 2003 and 1987 respectively. In addition, Optus' parent, SingTel, chose Arianespace to launch its ST-1 satellite in 1998," Mr Bowles said.
"The selection of Arianespace by leading satcom operators and manufacturers in Australia, the U.S. and Singapore reflects international recognition of a top- flight launch service."
For more information:
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 9342 5045