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New era of defence communications launched into space.

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Senator the Hon. Robert Hill, Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

Media Release

12 Jun 2003 MIN79/03


Defence is heading towards a new era of operational communications following the successful launch of the C1 satellite from French Guiana today, Defence Minister Robert Hill said.

The C1 satellite will be used for both Defence and commercial communications, with the two separate payloads operated independently to ensure there can be no mix-up of data.

"The satellite will provide Defence with a substantial increase in our communications capability across Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region," Senator Hill said.

"This means that mobile and deployed forces will be able to transfer command and control information and access larger volumes of data and at higher speeds which is essential to modern warfighting. "Access to satellite bandwidth was identified as a key issue for Australian Defence Force personnel deployed to the Middle East as part of the coalition to disarm Iraq - probably the first of the 21st century conflicts fought as much by technology as by our troops. The ADF needed enough bandwidth to pass quick, accurate, high-density data in and out of the Gulf around the clock to strategic, operational and tactical commanders. These same requirements apply in our immediate neighbourhood where the C1 satellite will provide increased communications capacity for the ADF."

Senator Hill congratulated both Defence and Optus for the success of the project, which has been five years in the making.

Defence is utilising Optus’ considerable expertise in acquiring and operating communications satellites and both parties obtain significant financial benefit from sharing the considerable costs of embarking on such a project. Defence and Optus have equal responsibility for the C1 satellite under an agreement established to guide the two organisations in the shared management of the satellite during its expected 15-plus years of life.

Orbit raising of the satellite will take approximately 10 days and this will be followed by 23 days of in-orbit testing. When in-orbit testing has been completed, the satellite will be drifted to its operational orbit. Defence operational use of the satellite is expected to start in late July 2003.

Fixed ground infrastructure for the control and management of the satellite has been installed at Optus and Defence facilities in both Sydney and Canberra.

Defence Media Centre - Fact Sheets



Bus Type: Space Systems/Loral (USA) FS 1300 Axis Stabilised Design

Life: 15+ years


156 degrees East Longitude Geostationary Orbit (a fixed orbital position 36,000 km above the equator)


Dry 1920 kg Propellant 2820 kg At Launch 4840 kg


25m width (with solar panels deployed) 8.2m height (with UHF antenna deployed)

Propulsion System

1 x 490 Newton thruster and 12 x 22 Newton thrusters and nitrogen tetroxide (N2O2) and monomethyl hydrazine (MMH) propellant.

Electrical System:

2 x 5 panel solar arrays 2 x 36 cell Nickel-Hydrogen (N2-H2) Batteries

Encryption: command link Caribou high grade encrytion.

Communications Payloads: Commercial - Ku-band Defence - Ka-band, X-band, UHF 16 antennas


The launch of the Optus Defence C1 satellite will herald the start of a new era in satellite communications for the Department of Defence.

Joint Project 2008 Phase 3D was established in 1997 following an unsolicited invitation from Optus for Defence to share Australia's next generation commercial communications satellite. The project provides for supply and support of a Defence owned payload operating on the shared C1 communications satellite, together with Defence owned fixed terrestrial infrastructure for control and management of the Defence payload and the new communications network.

The network, otherwise known as the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Capability, will provide Defence with satellite communications across Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region in the X, Ka and UHF radio frequency bands. Contracts with Optus were signed in October 1999.

Defence and Optus are sharing the costs, benefits and risks of acquiring, launching and operating the C1 communications satellite.

The benefits for Defence are substantial - a very significant satellite communications capability delivered years ahead and at a

fraction of the cost than could have otherwise been achieved, access to Optus' considerable experience in acquiring and operating communications satellites and an accelerated development of Defence's satellite communications expertise.

The lessons learnt in this program by Defence will assist greatly in the acquisition of future Defence satellite communications capabilities. Optus too is gaining considerable benefits from Defence involvement the C1 satellite program.

With four separate payload sub-systems and 16 antennas, C1 is a very large and technically complex communications satellite. It will have a mass of about five tonnes at launch and with antennas and solar panels deployed, it will span 25 metres across and eight metres in height.

The satellite will operate at 156 degrees east longitude from a geo-stationary orbit (a fixed position about 36,000 km above the earth's surface).

The Defence payload will feature three payload sub-systems, crossbanding between the X and Ka-band payload sub-systems (that is, communications up in one band and down in another) and a combination of earth, fixed Australian/regional and steerable spot coverage beams.

During launch, the satellite will be subjected to very high levels of vibration and stress and it will then be required to operate for 15 plus years in a harsh and forbidding environment - one characterised by high levels of radiation, extremes of hot and cold and an absence of atmosphere.

As it will not be possible to undertake on-site repairs, the design, construction and testing of the satellite have been tasks of fundamental importance. The satellite design incorporates built-in redundancy where possible, and a comprehensive test program has demonstrated that the satellite meets and in many respects exceeds all functionality and performance design specifications. The test program, at satellite system level, has included thermal/vacuum, vibration, accoustics, passive intermodulation, compact antenna range and deployment mechanism testing.

The success of the C1 satellite program is a testament to the design and manufacturing skills of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Japan), Space Systems/Loral (USA) and Raytheon Systems Company (USA), as well as the dedicated efforts of Optus and Defence project personnel. Construction of the satellite was completed in January 2003.

Arianespace, an experienced European launch service provider, will use an Ariane 5-G launch vehicle to launch the C1 satellite. Another satellite, a Japanese owned and US manufactured BSAT-2C, will co-share the launch with C1.

In recognising the inherent risks associated with satellite programs, Optus and Defence have implemented responsible risk management regimes, including the use of insurance to address the potential for the satellite to be lost or damaged during launch and the first five years of in-orbit operations.

Fixed terrestrial infrastructure, including 11.2m diameter X-band and 9.0m diameter Ka-band anchor station antennas, together with primary and secondary Defence payload and operations control facilities, has been installed at Defence facilities in Canberra.

Information Systems Division will be responsible for control and management of the new communications network. Optus has been contracted by Defence to supply payload operators, to maintain and support the fixed terrestrial infrastructure and to undertake

telemetry, tracking and command of the satellite.

A satellite management agreement has also been established to guide Defence and Optus in the management and operation of the shared satellite asset.

The Australian Defence Satellite Communications Capability provides Defence with a very substantial increase in communications capability. This capability will be utilised by the ADF through the availability of a range of new, upgraded and existing user terminals.

Defence has UHF infrastructure and is currently acquiring X and Ka band user terminals for land and maritime applications.

The Defence owned payload on the OPTUS C1 satellite will provide the ADF with a substantial increase to its beyond line of sight communications capability.

The ADF will be able to access the payload via a range of new, upgraded and existing terminals under a number of additional Defence capability enhancement programs.

The payload will enable the ADF, within the footprint of the satellite, to extend its strategic network out into the tactical environment.

This will enable commanders in the field or at sea to receive secure voice and data transmissions including large imagery and data files.

Example: During the deployment of a Deployable Joint Force HQ (DJFHQ) on board HMAS Manoora, the deployed HQs will be able to establish secure voice and high data rate communications with HQ back in Australia whilst in transit to the area of operations. Once in Theatre the forward HQs, including its attached Air Force elements, will be able to maintain communications with their HQ back in Australia and deployed tactical elements within the area of operations.

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Ka-band Payload Sub-System

Uplink frequency: 30.0 - 31.0 GHz

Downlink frequency:

20.2 - 21.2 GHz

Transponders: 4 x 33 MHz active, 1 x 33 MHz spare

Coverage Beams: Earth, Australian Littoral, and 1800 km Steerable Spot


Medium to high data rate theatre broadcast and duplex video, voice and data communications. Ka-band communications is a new capability for Defence

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X-band Payload Sub-System

Uplink frequency: 7.9 - 8.4 GHz

Downlink frequency: 7.25 - 7.75 GHz

Transponders: 4 x 60MHz active, 1 x 60 MHz spare

Coverage Beams: Earth, Regional and 2000 km Steerable Spot


Medium to high data rate one and two way video, voice and data communications. X-band communications is a new capability for Defence

Crossbanding Sub-System


X to Ka-band crossbanding Capability: X to Ka-band crossbanding

Usage: Crossbanding will provide an increased level of payload flexibility.

UHF Payload Sub-System

Uplink frequency: 290 - 320 MHz

Downlink frequency: 240 - 270 MHz

Channels: 5 x 5kHz and 1 x 25 kHz channels (includes extensive tuneability)

Coverage Beam: Earth


Low data rate two way voice and data communications. UHF is an existing capability within Defence.

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SingTel Optus (Optus)

· Defence prime contractor

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation of Japan (Melco)

· Design Authority for the C1 satellite · Supply of the Defence X and Ka-band payload sub-systems · Support for in-orbit testing of the Defence and commercial payloads

Space Systems/Loral of USA (SS/L)

· Supply of the Optus commercial Ku-band payload subsystem · Supply of the FS 1300 satellite bus · Satellite assembly, integration and testing · Support for satellite launch, orbit raising and in-orbit testing.

Raytheon Systems Company of USA (RSC) · Supply of the Defence UHF payload sub-system

Arianespace · Launch services

Comsyst Pty Ltd of Australia · Supply and installation of the fixed Defence ground segment (control facilities and anchor stations)

Vertex of USA · Manufacture of the X and Ka-band anchor station antennas.

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