Optus satellite facility tour: photos

Optus satellite facility tour: photos

Summary: ZDNet Australia goes behind the scenes at Optus' satellite facility in Belrose just north of Sydney to see how the telco manages its five satellites currently in orbit.


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  • (Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

    Paul Sheridan, director of Optus Satellite, told ZDNet Australia that, in addition to guiding Optus' 10 satellite launches, the centre has assisted the launches of 70 other satellites for other companies.

    "Because of the expertise in the building, there's a unique group of people with talent here that is found nowhere else in Australia."

    Each launch takes about 10 to 15 days from start to completion.

  • (Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

    Sheridan uses an app on his smartphone to point out where the Optus C1 satellite is located in the sky.

    He said that due to the wide open land, Australia has a geographic advantage in being the home of a satellite facility. Around 120 people work in the facility in any one time.

  • (Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

    Two main operation centres keep control of the satellites and the data they transmit. The satellite control room is operated by two controllers 24 hours a day, with two 12-hour shifts from 7am to 7pm and 7pm to 7am. The controllers are tasked with ensuring the satellites remain in position and perform routine checks on a daily basis. The satellites are powered through solar panels, and one of the more busy times of the year is during Equinox, when there is a solar eclipse for one hour a night. According to Optus, the satellites store up solar power in their batteries to ensure that the systems do not go down while the sun is blocked by the Earth.

    The second room is the broadcast operations centre. This centre monitors the customer feeds being broadcast over the satellites.

    Unfortunately, due to security concerns, ZDNet Australia was unable to take photos in either of the control rooms.

Topics: Telcos, Emerging Tech, Optus


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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