Australian telecommunications satellite operator Optus has chosen Arianespace to orbit its D3 satellite.

With a design life of 15 years the Optus D3 will be orbited by an Ariane 5 or a Soyuz launcher in 2009 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. It will provide television broadcast, internet, telephony and data transmission services for Australia and New Zealand.

US satellite manufacturer Orbital Sciences will construct the 2,500kg Optus D3 spacecraft in Dulles, Virginia, using its Star-2 platform. The US company also manufactured Optus D1 and D2.

Optus D3 will be the fifth satellite launched by Arianespace for the Australian operator. Optus D2 is scheduled for launch by Arianespace later this year. Optus D1 was launched by Arianespace in October 2006, following Optus & Defence C1 in 2003 and Aussat A3 in 1987.