ESA launches first variable satellite: paving the way for the era of flexible communications

Unlike conventional models that were developed on Earth and cannot be reused after entering

orbit, the new Eutelsat Quantum satellite is based onso-called software-defined technology, which allows users to adapt it to their needs in almost real time.

Quantum can respond to changingdata transmission and secure communication requirements for 15 years is its maximum service life. The 3.5 tonne model has eight communication beams, each of which can be adjusted to change coverage and power.

This means that the satellite can be used formobile coverage for moving objects, such as airplanes or ships, or to provide coverage in disaster areas or other one-off events.

A satellite with a non-fixed feature set that can adapt to customers gives us great promise.

Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Applications Agency

If the launch is successful, it paved the way for mass production of this type of satellites.

The new Quantum satellite will be part of the usefulload of the Ariane 5 rocket, which is to launch from the Guiana Space Center in Latin America from 21:00 to 22:30 GMT today, July 30. In addition to Quantum, the rocket will also deploy a conventional satellite for the Brazilian company Embratel.

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