Airbus wins Optus satellite order

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Australian telco Optus has ordered a new satellite (Optus 11) from Airbus Defence & Space. The craft will carry the industry’s latest ‘beam forming’ software and have the ability to configure payloads and traffic while in orbit.

The contract calls for a launch in 2023 to the 160 degree East orbital slot.

“Its location, coverage, bandwidth, and capacity can be changed in orbit as customer demands evolve – where traditional satellites are limited by on-ground configurations that cannot be altered after launch,” the telco said in a statement.

Optus 11 will sit in a geostationary orbit, and will be the sixth Optus owns. The company said the new addition would make the size of its satellite fleet the largest in Australia’s history.

“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,” Optus managing director of wholesale, satellite, and strategy Ben White said.

“In addition, it will support the Optus mobile network using satellite backhaul and the government’s Mobile Black Spot Programs. The spacecraft’s ground-breaking design is a very exciting development and software-defined satellites will become the future of this industry.”

The telco has already signed Sky New Zealand as a customer and added that the satellite’s footprint, once in the sky, would reach from Antarctica to the Cocos Islands, and a “vast majority” of the Pacific.

“It will have the ability to cover oceans previously out of reach to Optus and provide tracking spot beams coverage to planes and vessels anywhere within the Optus 11 footprint,” White said.


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