Airbus Defence and Space has signed the first contract for the fully reconfigurable Quantum satellite with Eutelsat and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Quantum satellite will be operated and commercialised by Eutelsat and will be able to adapt to new demands in coverage, bandwidth, power, frequency configurability and even change its orbital position.
Quantum will be the first generation of universal satellites able to serve any region of the world and adjust to new business without the user needing to procure and launch an entirely new satellite. Featuring phased array antennas and flexible connectivity, which is fully reconfigurable in orbit, Quantum will be able to adjust its coverage and capacity to suit customers’ needs as and when they change.
“Eutelsat Quantum is the first satellite that can be fully reconfigured in orbit,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “With this satellite, Airbus Defence and Space will deliver yet another innovation for Eutelsat, marking a breakthrough in the telecommunications satellites and following electric propulsion with EUTELSAT 172B and broadband access with KA-SAT.”
The new design is a first in the commercial satellite industry. It features software defined ‘receive’ and ‘transmit’ coverages in Ku-band, including on-board jamming detection and mitigation. It allows customers to maintain access to premium capacity throughout the 15 year lifetime of the satellite by allowing footprint shaping and steering, frequency adjustment and bandwidth reassignment. This ability to track or establish new markets, mirror or complement another satellite anywhere in geostationary orbit will transform fleet management and result in a significantly more efficient use of resources.
Quantum builds on the payload technology developed by Airbus Defence and Space in the UK under the ESA Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems programme (ARTES 33.3) and supported by the UK Space Agency.