NBN Co faces satellite launch delay

The National Broadband Network satellites will likely be stuck on the ground for three months longer than planned.

NBN Co is facing a three-month launch delay for its satellites due to Arianespace's inability to find an appropriate launch partner for the first satellite.

As reported by The Australian on Monday, NBN Co's satellite director Matt Dawson has informed staff in a note that Arianespace advised that no suitable co-passenger had been found for the launch of the first satellite later this year.

"As a result, Arianespace has assigned a new co-passenger, and anticipates launch in Oct-Nov 2015. This ensures NBN Co remains on track to launch its first satellite prior to the end of 2015," Dawson said in a note seen by ZDNet.

"While the company is keen to launch earlier and will continue to prepare for readiness early in the second half of the calendar year, NBN Co has acknowledged the later departure of NBN Co-1A could result in a delayed launch of its second satellite, NBN Co-1B, into 2016."

The two AU$620 million Ka-band satellites, which will be used to provide 3 percent of Australian premises with broadband services, are set to be launched in French Guiana, and will provide services in 2016.

NBN Co said that every factor within the company's control is still on track for the original timing of the launches, and that other factors, such as weather conditions, could also ultimately impact the timing of the launch.

In September, NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow told the parliament that the satellites were in the thermal-vacuum testing stage ahead of the launch later this year.