A year ago, the first commercial, fully flexible, software-defined satellite was launched. He is now working for various customers.
The world’s first fully reprogrammable satellite is largely fully booked a year after its launch in commercial use. This was announced by the European Space Agency ESA, adding that the remaining capacity of the satellite, named Eutelsat quantum, is likely to be sold in the coming years. A total of six of the eight independent beams of the AntenneELSA+ (ELEctronically Steerable Antenna+) have been booked by government agencies and other organizations. The satellite with a mass of 3.5 tons has a planned lifetime of 15 years.
Versatile and flexible to use
The “world’s first commercial, fully flexible software-defined satellite” was ordered in 2015 and launched in early August 2021 on an Ariane rocket. Airbus built it. The group believes that this will usher in a new era in commercial satellites. It was said at the start that it could set new standards, especially in terms of flexibility.
Until now, satellites have been tailored to their intended use, but Eutelsat Quantum can be deployed to deliver data and secure communications to any area of the world and respond to changing needs. Its beams can also be deflected so that they move in near real time, for example to target ships or aircraft.
Eutelsat Quantum orbits the Earth in geostationary orbit at an altitude of approximately 36,000 kilometers. Among other things, the satellite is also to be used in the event of catastrophes in order to quickly provide additional communication capacities. According to the manufacturer, the throughput can also be increased if demand increases. The technology can also react to unintentional disruptions or intentional blockages. It is the result of close cooperation between ESA, Eutelsat, Airbus and the British Space Agency. Its readiness marks a milestone and will create many jobs, says ESA’s Elodie Via.