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Optus D3 satellite readying for launch

Optus D3Optus D3 was delivered to Rochambeau International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne by a chartered cargo jetliner, which carried this Orbital Sciences Corporation-built spacecraft from its manufacturing facility in the United States.

It is the third D-series satellite produced by Orbital Sciences for the Australian-based Optus telecommunications provider. The two previous spacecraft were launched by Ariane 5 missions in October 2006 and October 2007.

Optus D3 is based on Orbital Sciences’ STAR platform and will provide Ku-band fixed communications and direct television broadcasting services to Australia and New Zealand. As the most powerful spacecraft in the D-series, Optus D3 will generate approximately five kilowatts of payload power to service up to 32 active transponders.

Joining Optus D3 on the upcoming Ariane 5 mission is another U.S.-built satellite, which also will be operated by an Asia-Pacific telecommunications service provider: Lockheed Martin’s JCSAT-12 relay platform for SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation of Japan.

The mid-August flight with Optus D3 and JCSAT-12 will be the fourth of a record seven Ariane 5 launches planned in 2009 as Arianespace maintains its mission pace to meet the launch services requirements of a growing international customer base.

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