I WANT to share a story that I find fascinating about the upcoming launch of the National Broadband Network (NBN) satellite.
While a minority of people will make use of broadband by satellite it is a very important part of the NBN rollout.
However, in my electorate of Calare, which is not far from Sydney, and not in the far-west, many people will hook onto a brand new and incredibly sophisticated system, which gives line of sight to out-of-space.
The first NBN satellite has been specially built for Australia and is due to be launched from French Guiana in early October this year.
After launch, the satellite will take about one month to manoeuvre the satellite into its exact position.
A trial will occur for six months and then in around April or May 2016 the sophisticated system should become fully operational.
For the uninitiated like me, GPS satellites circle about 20,200 kilometres above the Earth.
Spy satellites travel in an elliptical orbit - but these broadband satellites will actually operate exactly 35,786 kilometres above Earth.
That is the exact location – to the metre - where they will be able to cover Australia from their orbital slots along the equator at 140 and 145 degrees, roughly above New Guinea.
This first satellite is going up three months late because of the incredible cost of putting satellites into orbit.
It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to send satellites up so they often go up in pairs as quite obviously you don’t want to do that on your own, or it would be prohibitive.
Our original partner for this satellite unfortunately fell through forcing the three month delay as we search for another launch partner.
At about the time the first satellite goes operational the second one will be launched and also take one month to manoeuvre.
Together, the two satellites will be able to cater to around 400,000 premises in regional, rural and remote Australia.
We do not perceive any issue with subscription to the first satellite filling up before the second one goes up, as we predict it will take quite a long time for people to connect or realise they are able to take advantage of it.
Our satellites will have 101 cells which means 101 beams projecting down from space and into homes and businesses in regional Australia.
This technology carries a download speed of 25 MB/sec.
It will be a vast improvement on the current technology with those people unable to get fibre to the node or fixed wireless being eligible to access the new satellites.
Many people living in the Blue Mountains, North Lithgow, around Oberon and other people in Calare will soon access this incredible piece of technology.
Experts say the satellites will be operating at -600 degrees so a great deal of care needs to be taken when moving it in space.
It has two energy sources - the primary one is solar.
It has wings that will unfold very slowly because of the brittleness caused by the incredibly cold conditions.
Due to being located so far from the Earth, the satellite will receive far more sunlight than the Earth does, which spends half its time in darkness.
In addition, the amount of time the satellite can stay up is limited by the fuel it carries.
It’s expected the satellite will have a life-span of 15 to 16 years; limited by the fuel it carries.
People who are particularly interested will be able to watch the launch of the NBN satellite on the website with precise details due to be released closer to the launch date in October.
I’m sure many people like myself, will find watching the launch extremely fascinating.
All going to plan, around April-May 2016 the satellite will be fully operational and available to connect.
John Cobb is the federal Nationals' Member for Calare.