news NBN Co has started the count down to the launch of its second telecoms satellite, which it has announced will take place on 5 October.
Called Sky Muster II, the hefty 6,400kg satellite will blast off from French Guiana Space Centre in South America and is planned to reach an orbit of 36,000km.
Following the launch of NBN Co’s first satellite late last year, Sky Muster II is aimed to provide extra data capacity to support the company’s satellite broadband service.
According to NBN Co, the service will help “bridge Australia’s digital divide” for approximately 400,000 homes and businesses in regional and remote Australia, bringing better access to distance online education and healthcare services, as well more business opportunities for outback farmers.
“The NBN Sky Muster satellite service is transforming the day-to-day lives of people from all over the country,” said Julia Dickinson, NBN Co’s Satellite Architect.
“We are already seeing how access to fast broadband for small businesses and farms in the most remote outback and offshore locations can improve productivity by better enabling the ability to store files in the cloud and avoid lengthy business trips by communicating with customers and suppliers through more reliable video conferencing,” she said.
Calling it an “enormous project”, Dickinson added that NBN Co is working to deliver the satellite service as fast as it can, but “reaching all corners of the country will take some time”.
Alicia Garden, CEO of advocacy group Grain Growers, commented: “Like any other business, grain farmers require fast, affordable, reliable Internet connectivity to operate their enterprises to their potential. However, currently many farmers are not able to access connectivity comparable to their urban counterparts.”
She said that access to the NBN’s satellite service is a “potential game-changer” for grain growers.
“It will enhance connectivity standards to improve the efficiency and profitability of Australian farming by changing the way farmers do business – in particular their capacity to collect, analyse and apply agriculture data,” Garden said.
NBN Co has also revealed the initial version of the artwork that will be printed on the nosecone of the rocket that will take Sky Muster II into orbit.
The mosaic-style image is made up of more than 700 Australians who won the chance to include an image of their face on this notable piece of telecoms infrastructure.
Back in January, one of the key engineers who helped guide the NBN’s first satellite into orbit was awarded Australia Day Honours.
The Governor-General’s listed Mark Harman Thompson a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia, “for significant service to science as a satellite communications engineer through program management and design.”
Image credit: NBN company