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Optus orders OneSat satellite from Airbus

by — July 2, 2020

WASHINGTON — Airbus Defence and Space on July 2 announced that it will build a geostationary communications satellite for Optus that will provide coverage over Australia and the surrounding region.

Airbus will build the satellite, called Optus-11, on its new OneSat platform, designed with a reconfigurable payload that can steer and reassign beams for different customers and services.

Optus-11 is projected to launch in 2023, though a launch provider has not been announced, and will expand Optus’ fleet to six geostationary satellites. Optus plans to locate the satellite at the 160 degrees East orbital slot for coverage over Australia, New Zealand and part of Antarctica. The satellite’s coverage will also extend west to the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, and east to a “vast majority of the Pacific region.”

“Optus 11 will add capacity and resilience to our satellite fleet and its unique capabilities will give our broadcast customers the option to tailor their dynamic video delivery via IP streaming, and our broadband customers can benefit from better performance and higher individual throughputs,” Ben White, Optus managing director of wholesale, satellite and strategy, said in a statement.

The satellite will also support Optus’ cellular network by backhauling data, and the Australian government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, a 380 million Australian dollar ($263 million) effort to fund telecommunications infrastructure in Australia.

Optus-11 will be an all Ku-band very high throughput satellite, according to Airbus. In an interview, Francois Gaullier, head of telecommunications satellites at Airbus, said the satellite will weigh approximately 3,000 kilograms and feature an all-electric propulsion system.

Optus is Airbus’ second customer for OneSat, following Inmarsat’s three-satellite order in 2019. The manufacturer designed OneSat with help from the European, French and British space agencies, as a smaller geostationary satellite that can eventually be built in 18 months. Gaullier said Airbus hopes to reach that time frame in 2022.

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