Airbus Defence and Space has been awarded an end-to-end turnkey contract for a telecommunications satellite by Australia’s leading satellite operator and number two telecommunications company, Optus. This is Airbus’ first contract from an Australian operator and is the fourth order for Airbus’ latest telecommunications satellite design, the OneSat fully-reconfigurable satellite.
“OneSat is a truly disruptive product, both from a manufacturing and operational point of view, and gives customers the flexibility they need to serve their markets,” affirmed Airbus Space Systems head Jean-Marc Nasr. “This contract from Australia’s leading satellite operator, Optus, is a ringing endorsement that our R&D [research and development] strategy in developing innovative products is the right one. OneSat’s high flexibility, very compact design and accelerated production should see the satellite in orbit for Optus in 2023.”
In service, the satellite will be designated Optus 11 and it will be fitted with a digital payload. The contract includes the design and assembly of the satellite, plus an advanced digital suite that will manage the satellite’s payload and resources (from end to end) and permit the hosting of other payloads. Processors and active antennas on board the satellite will allow beam-forming and the payload will be configurable and adaptable, to meet the ends of its end-users.
The satellite will operate in the Ku-band, providing a mixture of broadband and broadcast very high throughput satellite missions covering Australia and New Zealand. It will improve Direct to Home broadcasting across Australasia and expand coverage in both the Pacific and Antarctic areas. It will also help eliminate mobile telephony black spots in Australia, in support of an Australian government programme.
“We are grateful to Optus for their trust in Airbus in a region where we have ambitions to work with local industry to support space technology development in both the civil and defence sectors,” highlighted Nasr. The OneSat design follows from Airbus’ Eurostar series of telecommunications satellites, which have displayed high reliability and have accumulated more than 800 years of space operations.
“This order further strengthens Airbus’ leadership in new generation reconfigurable telecommunications satellites and enables Optus with the option to add additional spacecraft in the near future,” stated Airbus. “The investments made by Airbus and its partners in the very innovative OneSat developments are supported by the European Space Agency and national agencies, in particular the UK and French space agencies.”