Arianespace Tapped To Launch Aussie Telecom Satellites
According to Arianespace officials, Australian telecommunications carrier Optus has chosen the company to launch its D1 and D2 satellites. Optus D1 is to be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, at the end of 2005 via an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Optus D2 is to be delivered to orbit via a Russian-built Soyuz launcher in 2007. It will be the first time a Soyuz launcher will be used by Arianespace to deliver a satellite to orbit.
Orbital Sciences Corp. will integrate the two satellites, and they will use the company’s Star-2 platform. D1 and D2 will be located at 160 degrees East and 156 degrees East, respectively, and each has a 15-year life span. The two birds will provide direct TV broadcast, Internet connectivity, telephony and data transmission services to Australia and New Zealand.