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Optus claims “unfriendly nations” near its satellites

June 16, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Australia’s Optus satellite operator says that its orbiting craft have experienced close encounters from “unfriendly nations” and that it has had to take evasive action from the close proximity within the orbital positions of its satellites.

Optus’ head of satellite and space systems Nick Leake, speaking at the Australasia Satellite Forum, said: “On some occasions, we have had to make avoidance manoeuvres to ensure our satellite was not struck. We’re obviously looking at actors from unfriendly nations that are putting out a spacecraft to look and listen to what is actually going on in our fleet. And we’ve had certain spacecraft from certain actors that have followed a flight plan that slightly deviated and ended up in one of our orbital rotations.”

Leake declined to comment when asked as to which country was responsible, other than to say that it was working with the Australian government on sensitive and security matters.

Optus has five geostationary satellites that provide services across Australia and New Zealand, and as far as McMurdo Sound in the Antarctic.

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