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The countdown is on to the launch of the NBN’s first satellite, designed to deliver broadband to rural Australian homes and businesses.Sky Muster is set to launch from the Guiana Space Centre in South America on October 1, the first of two satellites that the NBN will launch into space.

Sky Muster, weighing in at 6,400 kg and one of the world’s largest communications satellites, will progressively deliver broadband to more than 200,000 homes and businesses in rural and remote Australia from next year.

“Many rural and remote Australians do not have access to a quality broadband service and continue to experience dial-up level speeds,” NBN managing space systems architect Julia Dickinson commented.

“Sky Muster will help deliver world-class broadband services to the bush – it will offer better opportunities for distance education online through use of video conferencing, as well as improved access for specialist tele-health applications in the home.”

School of the Air student, six-year-old Bailey Brooks, based 400 km outside of Alice Springs, won the opportunity to name the satellite through a nationwide drawing competition, inviting children to illustrate how the new broadband network will make Australia a better country.

Bailey, along with her classmates, chose the name Sky Muster, referring to the gathering of cattle and how the satellite will help “round up” and connect Australians.

“My drawing shows me on my balcony and the satellite and stars in the sky,” she commented. “I’m very excited to name the satellite and have my drawing put on the rocket, and am counting down the days until Sky Muster is sent into space.”

Bailey was today joined by all the state winners for the competition at Questacon science centre in Canberra, which they received as a prize for their winning artworks.

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