Students from the School of the Air in Alice Springs were thrilled recently to be given the opportunity to name the first nbn satellite that will help deliver broadband services to more parts of Australia.
The satellite, which they named Sky Muster, is one of the world’s largest commercial satellites that will be sent up 36,000km into space. The satellite is also decorated with a painting by 6-year-old Bailey Brooks (pictured) from Lilla Creek Station, 400km south of Alice Springs, who won a national competition for 5-12 year-olds to submit an artwork depicting the concept of Shoot for the Stars to celebrate the launch of the communications satellite.
The name Sky Muster refers to the gathering of cattle, with which so many of the School of the Air students are familiar, and also captures how the satellite will ‘round-up’ and connect Australians better than ever.
One of Australia’s most prolific children’s authors and competition judge Morris Gleitzman said the quality of entries demonstrated that the Aussie traditions of cheekiness and creative thinking are alive and well.
“Kids’ imaginations have always operated at millions of megabytes a second, so it’s very exciting for them to see that communications technology is finally catching up. Their illustrations show how much they relish being connected to a wider world of ideas and possibilities as well as to their fellow Australians.
“All kids deserve the best education we can manage, regardless of their postcode, and high speed broadband is going to lend an important hand in the classroom and at home. Thanks to Sky Muster, fewer kids will miss the digital bus.”
Schooled remotely over satellite internet, Bailey was excited to win the nationwide competition.
“I felt special when I found out I won. My drawing is me with a satellite dish on my house and all the stars in the sky. The satellite helps me and my friends do our school work.”
Sky Muster will be the first of two satellites which nbn will send into space. With the launch currently scheduled within the next year, it will play a crucial part in helping to level the playing field between city and bush by helping to deliver fast broadband services to around 400,000 Australian homes and businesses.
As well as a national winner, the competition judges chose winners from each state who will be awarded with a commemorative plaque for their school and will receive a trip to Questacon, The National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra.