The OPTUS D1 satellite

Under the umbrella of Freeview, currently two frequencies on this satellite provides high quality Digital coverage of TV to anywhere in New Zealand via satellite for the free channels of TVNZ and Kordia who manage the radio an independant TV stations. 

The nice thing about D1 is thats it holds the latest technology - 1080 resolution (nearly double that of now (625)) plus wide screen capability for the Plasma and LED, OLED flat screens available now. All of the current signals from Freeview are only 576 resolution whereas SKY has both 576 and 1080i.   As there is virtually no more space on this satellite, Freeview is very limited in providing more channels without another TP frequency.


D1, D2 & D3 Launch vehicles


Arianespace is the commercial launch services leader, holding more than 50 percent of the international market for satellites launched to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Created in 1980 as the world's first commercial space transportation company, Arianespace has signed contracts for the launch of more than 250 satellite payloads. For further information, see the Arianespace Web site at www.arianespace.com


D1, D2 and D3 Specifications


At the end of 2003 Orbital was awarded a firm order for two GEO satellites by Sydney, Australia based Optus Networks, Pty. Based on Orbital’s STAR platform, the satellites will provide Ku-band fixed communications and direct television broadcasting services to Australia and New Zealand.

The three new satellites, of the Optus’ D-series of satellites, carry 24 transponders, with 8 back-up channels also available. D1, generates approximately 4.8 kilowatts of electrical power. Launched in Oct 2006. D2, will generates approximately 6.4 kilowatts.  D3 is parked alongside Optus C1  to provide even more content and HD quality TV.  So far Sky NZ has not used D3 although there is meant to be allocated frequencies for them on this.  The problem is that the dual and the quad LNB’s need to be used. 


Optus Networks, Pty. – Sydney, Australia



Ku-band fixed communications and direct television to Australia
and New Zealand






Transponder Power:
Launch Mass:
Mission Life:

3800 W
zero momentum, 3-axis stabilized
2350 kg
160° E
15 years

5000 W
zero momentum, 3-axis stabilized
2500 kg
152° E
15 year

5000 W
zero momentum, 3-axis stabilized
2500 kg
156° E
15 year


OPTUS SATELLITE background info


Who owns the Australian OPTUS company?  SingTel a Singapore based company acquired Optus, the leading satellite communications provider in Australia with a satellite footprint covering Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. The SingTel Group is the largest satellite operator in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan), providing access to more than 38 geo-stationary satellites. SingTel site

As the market size for satellite services in Australia and New Zealand experiences strong growth- especially for direct-to-home broadcasting and High Definition and 3D services.- Optus continues to launch satellites, intent on securing, and providing for, this expanding number of users.

If you  were on the receiving end of loosing a nights viewing on SKY in April 2006 and in May 2005 you would be glad  to see some method of providing backup for services in orbit.

The way Optus designed the D-series was to go down the path of choosing two small satellites rather than buying one large one. It gives them the ability to put additional capacity at OPTUS’s hot bird location for Australia, at 156 - that's where the C1 satellite now is. - The D2 satellite,  will be co-located with C1.  D2 will have a broadcast services payload, so it operates at a different frequency band, but one which is directly compatible with the existing C1 frequency band. The value of this is for the Australian consumers' is that it just needs to have a wide band receiver, and it can actually receive signals from either D2 or C1..with the same installation.

The D series satellites give OPTUS the ability to add payload to the 156º orbit location, which is the Australian hot bird location, and at the same time replace B1, which is at 160º, and that's where all the New Zealand dishes are pointing. This will give continuity of service for New Zealand at 160, as well as growth capacity for the Australian market at 156º.

OPTUS as well has on C1 / D3 a New Zealand back up capability, so in the event that something happened to D1, the Sky NZ could be partially restored immediately on C1.

If you have looked at the new SKY dishes, you will have seen installed dual beam LNB dishes so the consumer's installation actually looks at both 160 and 156 simultaneously. In the unlikely event of the loss of the spacecraft (historically an extremely rare event), the services could be restored in short time.

C1 as well as the new D3 satellites are parked in the same spot in space. Their commercial payload is predominantly used for direct-to-home TV broadcasting in Australia  (with Foxtel being Optus' largest customer), as well as for providing remote area broadcasting services (RABS) of local ABC, SBS and commercial TV content.  The Australian equivalent of Freeview New Zealand is called VAST. This service requires a dedicated Satellite receiver and a dedicated card. Currently using Optus C1 satellite

The D1 and D2 satellites on the other hand, will cover Australia and New Zealand, being very much designed for these local domestic markets.

More info

Optus D1 Satellite

Optus D1 Satellite  - Artistic impression


Orbital’s STAR-2 satellite bus

Orbital’s STAR-2 flight-proven satellite bus, shown here being mated to a launch vehicle.


Ariane- 5 Rocket

Arianespace’s Ariane- 5 Rocket - see the video launch


Optus D1 & D2

Optus D1, D2 and D3 satellites



Optus D1 High Definition Satellite service