ESA to launch world’s first reprogrammable commercial satellite – All you need to know


The European Space Agency (ESA) is all set to launch the world’s first commercial fully re-programmable satellite, the Eutelsat Quantum on July 30, 2021.

The Quantum will be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in Latin America as a part of the payload for an Ariane 5 rocket between 9 to 10:30 PM GMT on July 30, 2021. The Ariane 5 rocket will also deploy a conventional satellite for Brazil’s Embratel.

World’s first reprogrammable commercial satellite ‘Eutelsat Quantum’

•The Eutelsat Quantum has been developed as the world’s first reprogrammable commercial satellite under an ESA Partnership Project with satellite operator Eutelsat and manufacturer Airbus.

•The Eutelsat Quantum, unlike convention satellite models that cannot be repurposed once in orbit, works on software-defined technology that offers flexible communications so that it can adapt to the demands of customers and markets in real-time.

Where will it be placed?

•The Quantum will be orbiting the Earth in a fixed position of 35,000 kms above the Earth. It will be operated by Paris-based Eutelsat.

What geographical area will it cover? How long?

•The Quantum will offer coverage for a large geographical area ranging from Asia to West Africa for 15 years.

How it can be reprogrammed in orbit?

•The Quantum weighing 3.5 tonnes comprises eight communication beams, each of which can be reprogrammed within minutes to change its area of coverage and the power of the telecommunications signal it emits.

•These would enable it to respond to changing demands for secure communications and data transmission during its 15-year lifespan.

•The Quantum is expected to offer mobile coverage for moving objects such as ocean vessels or aircraft, or to offer coverage after a natural disaster.

•Amid the growing threats around digital security, Quantum will also offer data on the origin of signals ‘emitted with or without malicious intent’.

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