Aussie ‘Sky Muster’ satellite ready to go
September 24, 2015
By Chris Forrester
Australia’s $500 million NBN satellite is ready for launch by Arianespace. The 6.4 tonne, ‘Sky Muster’ satellite is designed to deliver broadband capacity to around 200,000 homes and businesses in Australia’s remote areas where internet access is “woeful”. For most users it will be their first taste of fast broadband. Sky Muster was built by Space Systems/Loral.
“Sky Muster is going to be a game-changer for remote and regional Australia,” NBN chief executive Bill Morrow says. “People who have previously had no, or very slow, internet access will experience broadband access like never before.”
The aim of NBN’s long-term satellite service is to deliver peak download speeds of 25 megabits per second, roughly comparable with some urban areas. This involves its two satellites each projecting 101 torch-like spot beams across the continent (and offshore locations such as Christmas Island) as well as the construction of no fewer than 10 ground stations with twin 13.5 metre satellite dishes.
Australia’s National Broadband Network is 100% owned by the Australian government and wholesales its terrestrial and satellite capacity to local retailers. As at June 2015 it had 389,000 clients (mostly served by terrestrial links, and some linked by an interim satellite launched in 2011 (Optus’ IPstar).
Arianespace will carry out its Launch Readiness Review on Sept 28 prior to a scheduled launch for Sky Muster on Sept 30.
Arianespace will also carry ARSAT-2 for Argentina on the same Ariane-5 rocket.