For its eighth mission of 2016, and the year’s fifth Ariane 5 launch from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, Arianespace will orbit two satellites: Sky Muster II for the Australian operator nbn (National Broadband Network), and GSAT-18 for the Indian space agency ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).
Built by Space Systems Loral (SSL), Sky Muster II will be the second satellite launched by Arianespace for the Australian operator nbn owned by the Commonwealth of Australia, after the first Sky Muster spacecraft orbited in September 2015.
Sky Muster II reflects the country’s political commitment to bridging the digital divide, especially in the rural and isolated regions of Australia. This new satellite will help extend high-speed internet to the entire country, including the Norfolk, Christmas, Macquarie and Cocos islands, in conjunction with the services already delivered by Sky Muster I.
Sky Muster II will be the eighth satellite that Arianespace has launched for Australia, following Aussat 3, Optus C1/D1/D2/D3 and 10, and Sky Muster I.
GSAT-18 will be the 20th satellite from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to be launched by Arianespace. Since the launch of the Apple experimental satellite on Flight L03 in 1981, Arianespace has won 86% of the geostationary orbit launch contracts that the country has opened to non-Indian launch systems. GSAT 18 will provide telecommunications services for India, strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecom satellites.
After choosing Arianespace to launch its GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 satellites in 2015, ISRO selected Arianespace most recently to launch its GSAT-11 satellite. GSAT-17 and GSAT-11 will be orbited by 2017.