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Optus D1 satellite successfully launched
14 Oct 2006

Optus D1 satellite successfully launchedOptus announced today that following a spectacular launch display of state-of-the-art rocket technology, the Optus D1 satellite was successfully propelled into orbit.

The satellite will provide fixed communication and direct television broadcast services to Australia and New Zealand .

The Optus D1 satellite is the first in the company's D-series satellite program. The D-series program represents an overall investment in the order of $400 million.

Optus Chief Executive, Paul O'Sullivan, said the successful launch of Optus D1 satellite reaffirmed the Company's position as Australia 's leading satellite operator.

"Optus has been leading the way in satellite-based communication services in Australia for 20 years and we have the largest fleet of domestic satellites. The demand for satellite communications services continues to grow strongly for direct-to-home subscription television, remote and rural communications and high speed broadband services.

"We launched D1 to provide the additional satellite capacity required to meet the demand for satellite services across Australia and New Zealand.

"Satellite is a key differentiator for Optus and the D-series is confirmation of our continual investment in the technology. It enhances our reputation of delivering state-of-the-art technology for customers not only in urban centres to use but also those in rural and regional areas," Mr O'Sullivan said.

Optus D1 satellite will carry a mix of new business and the transfer of existing customers from the Optus B1 satellite. It will also increase Optus' capacity to deliver broadcast services and very small aperture terminal (VSAT) services for high speed internet and voice and data communications across Australia and New Zealand.

Customers on Optus D1 satellite will include SKY Television New Zealand, broadcasters ABC, Nine Network, Network Seven, SBS, Dubsat and VSAT users.

Now that the Optus D1 satellite has been successfully launched, the Optus B1 satellite will be retired once all customer services have been migrated. This is expected to be completed in late November 2006 on final in-orbit testing of the Optus D1 satellite.

Over the last five years Optus' satellite business has contributed over A$1 billion in revenue to the company.

The second satellite in the D-series, Optus D2 is planned to be launched from French Guiana in 2007 and will provide growth capacity for direct-to-home services and in orbit back-up capacity for the Optus D1 satellite. Optus D2 will be supported through Optus' earth station located at its new technical facility, Canberra, ACT.

The launch in French Guiana was viewed by nine year old, Jasmine Meagher from Soldiers Point Public School (NSW) and 13 year old, Matthew Tucker from Taroona High School (TAS) the lucky winners of the Optus Space Ace competition - an education program designed to promote science, space and technology to thousands of students through a hands-on, practical aerospace assignment.

The Optus D1 satellite:

  • Launched from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 rocket.
  • Positioned in orbit at 160 degrees east longitude.
  • Has 24 Ku band transponders that provide coverage for Australia and New Zealand.
  • Has more than a 15 year life span.
  • Is controlled from Optus' Sydney earth station with back-up by Optus' Perth earth station.
  • Is the seventh satellite successfully launched by Optus and the fifth satellite in Optus' current fleet.
  • Was constructed by Orbital Sciences Corporation in the USA.
  • Will be the first spacecraft to fully utilise the design capacity of the STAR-2 bus.

Download D1 Satellite Image (1MB).

Media contact:
Simone Bergholcs
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 9342 7846