The Project

The Antarctic Broadband program is developing a wide range of services which will improve communication and research support in Antarctica as well as a number of enduring space capabilities in Australia

Development path

Antarctic Broadband will be designing and operating two distinct satellite systems to build up the capability of the service across three stages.

The first satellite system, a Nanosatellite Demonstrator, will test key technologies, assumptions and techniques.

The Operational Satellite System will build on the lessons learned from the demonstrator, establishing a small-satellite constellation providing commercial broadband services to Antarctica.

The following table shows the development path and products produced along the way.


Stage One:

Definition and Capability Development

June 2010 – September 2011

Demonstrator system detailed design, including engineering drawings and production plan.

Operational system preliminary design, including mission concept and subsystem requirements.

Rapid prototyping, integration and test facility for small-satellite payloads at ANU Mt Stromlo, including equipment, fully commissioned processes and systems, with trained operators.

TT&C ground-station test facility at ANU Mt Stromlo, including S-band and UHF transceivers, radio and tracking equipment and trained personnel.

Ka-Band payload prototype and first generation ground station terminal.




Stage Two:

Nanosatellite Demonstration and Operational System Detailed Design

September 2011 – November 2012

One 20 x 20 x 20cm cube Nanosatellite developed by University of Toronto Space Flight Laboratory, with an Australian-developed communications payload, deployed in low earth orbit.

Controlled by a newly-created Small-Satellite Operations Facility at ANU Mt Stromlo.

Up to six prototype 2m-dish ground station terminals for deployment and test at sites in Antarctica.

Operational System detailed design.




Stage Three:

Operational System Manufacture, Launch and Commercialisation

November 2012 onwards

Two or three ‘bar fridge-sized’ small satellites deployed to provide extended coverage of Antarctica.

Satellite Operations Facility at ANU Mt Stromlo.

Three dedicated ground station terminals located in the Southern Hemisphere, with New Zealand, South American or South African partners.

Up to twenty 2m-dish ground station terminals located at customer sites in Antarctica.

Operation of business and replacement, or addition of operational class satellites, as needed.