Sky Muster

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Mission typeCommunication
COSPAR ID2015-054A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.40940Edit this on Wikidata
Spacecraft properties
BusSSL 1300
Launch mass6,440 kilograms (14,200 lb)[1]
Start of mission
Launch date30 September 2015
RocketAriane 5
Launch siteKourou ELA-3
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude140° E
Period23 hours, 56 minutes, 4 seconds
BandKa band
FrequencyEarth to the satellite being transmitted at 27 GHz to 31 GHz, satellite to the Earth being transmitted at 17.7 GHz to 22 GHz
CapacityCurrently 135 Gbit/s combined (1A and 1B), final capacity 185 Gbit/s
Coverage areaAustralia mainland and some overseas territories

The Sky Muster satellites are two geostationary (GEO) communications satellites operated by NBN Co Limited and built by SSL.[2][3] They were launched in 2015 and 2016 to provide fast broadband in areas where NBN didn't want to either lay fiber or install enough wireless antennas and offshore. They provide download speeds of up to 25 Mbit/s, and upload speeds of 5 Mbit/s in a best-case scenario.

Each Sky Muster has 101 spot beams,[4][5] which are focused satellite signals which are specially concentrated in power and cover a specific geographic area. The electromagnetic Ka band spot beams are used to carry information from the end users' equipment on the ground to the satellites. Each satellite offers 80 gigabits per second of bandwidth.[6][7] The two satellites will provide high-speed broadband service to 400,000 Australian homes and businesses in rural and remote Australia.[8] The two satellites were designed to provide service for at least 15 years.[9]

Sky Muster I (NBN-Co 1A) was launched on 1 October 2015[10] from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, South America, alongside Argentina's ARSAT-2, on an Ariane 5ECA rocket.

Sky Muster I operates in geostationary orbit of 140° East. Its orbital position is 35,786 kilometres (22,236 mi) at the equator, north of Australia.[10] Sky Muster I became operational in April 2016.[11]

Sky Muster II (NBN-Co 1B) was launched on 5 October 2016, and operates in geostationary orbit of 145° East.[12][13]

Initial services were offered on the service to end users commencing in January, 2016.[14]

As of June 2020, there are over 100,000 active customers connected to a Sky Muster service,[15] with the largest single Retail Service Provider of Sky Muster services being Activ8me[16] with over 35,000 active Sky Muster connections.[17]


The two NBN satellites, Sky Muster (NBN-Co 1A) and Sky Muster II (NBN-Co 1B), were conceived in 2012 under the Gillard Labor government, as part of the original National Broadband Network scheme and NBN Co contracted Space Systems/Loral (SSL) to build and launch the two satellites as part of a total investment costing A$2 billion.[18] The launch was conducted in accordance with the Space Activities Act 1998, which requires Ministerial approval for the launch of a space object from Australia or the launch of a space object by an Australian entity from an overseas location.[8]

Bailey Brooks, a six-year old School of the Air student who lives on a cattle station 400 kilometres (250 mi) from Alice Springs, won a competition to draw a picture of how the satellite benefits rural Australians. Her drawing of the rocket was printed on the payload fairing,[19] and her class named NBN-Co 1A "Sky Muster" as it would bring Australians together like a cattle muster.[20]


  1. ^ "Assembly is completed for the Ariane 5 to orbit Sky Muster and ARSAT-2 on September 30". 23 September 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  2. ^ "SSL Delivers High Performance Broadband Satellite To Launch Base, Demonstrates Leadership in Satellites For Fast Internet With Satellite For Australia's Broadband Network".
  3. ^ "Lift-off for first nbn satellite".
  4. ^ "NBN-Co 1A – Ariane 5 VA226".
  5. ^ "What are Sky Muster spot beams?".
  6. ^ Hutchinson, James (30 March 2011), "NBN Co seeks solid satellite speeds", Computerworld, retrieved 27 April 2011
  7. ^ Bingemann, Mitchell (1 June 2010), "Satellite operators shortlisted for national broadband network", The Australian, retrieved 27 April 2011
  8. ^ a b "Key Highlights – nbn successfully launches Sky Muster".
  9. ^ Sky Muster and NBN Co 1B
  10. ^ a b Tim Biggs (1 October 2015). "NBN's first satellite, Sky Muster, launches successfully into orbit". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  11. ^ "NBN Has Launched Its Sky Muster Broadband Service For Regional Areas".
  12. ^ Francis, Hannah. "Ten cool facts about NBN's forthcoming Sky Muster satellite service". Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Liftoff for second NBN satellite after delay".
  14. ^ "the countdown to commercial nbn skymuster satellite services in 2016".
  15. ^ "nbn Sky Muster reaches 100,000 connections". 4 June 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  16. ^ "Sky Muster Plans". 18 September 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  17. ^ "Market Indicators Report March 2020". 28 March 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  18. ^ Computerworld, 8 February 2012: NBN Co and Space Systems/Loral team up for communications satellites
  19. ^ "Ariane 5 is "signed" and ready for launch on Arianespace's fifth heavy-lift flight of 2015". 28 September 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  20. ^ "Outback glory: meet our competition winner Bailey Brooks".

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