SingTel Optus of Australia on March 21 confirmed it had ordered an Optus 10 telecommunications satellite from Space Systems/Loral to provide telecommunications links to Australia and New Zealand. The launch is scheduled for late 2013 on a rocket yet to be selected.

Optus 10 will carry 24 Ku-band transponders and be stationed at an orbital slot between 152 and 164 degrees west, with the exact location to be determined later. The beams will be switchable between Australia and New Zealand.

The satellite will be one of the lightest LS 1300-based satellites ever built by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Space Systems/Loral, which bested Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., to win the contract.

Loral said Optus 10 will provide 8.5 kilowatts of power at the end of the satellite’s 15-year service life. It will weigh some 3,200 kilograms at launch. Loral’s 1300 satellite frame is more commonly used for satellites weighing more than 4,000 kilograms, while Orbital’s Star 2 platform occupies a market niche in the 2,500-3,500-kilogram weight class.