European Space Agency partnership project with satellite operator Eutelsat Quantum and prime manufacturer Airbus, is the first commercial fully flexible software-defined satellite in the world.
Eutelsat Quantum’s first re-programmable satellite was onboard the Ariane 5 rocket which lifted off from French Guiana on Friday with a hope of better communication solutions in the future.
The European Space Agency (ESA) posted from its official handle a photo of the Eutelsat Quantum satellite lifting off and said that it is the “first commercial fully flexible software-defined satellite in the world”.
The launch took place at 23:00 Paris time (00:00 Moscow time) from the Kourou cosmodrome in French Guiana. The satellites separated from the second stage of the rocket after 36 minutes.
“Eutelsat Quantum, developed under an ESA partnership project with satellite operator Eutelsat and prime manufacturer Airbus, is the first commercial fully flexible software-defined satellite in the world,” the space agency said in an official release.
The traditional satellite designs are hard-wired on earth and cannot be altered once it lifts off the Earth’s surface but Eutelsat’s full re-programmable satellite allows repurposing the satellite according to the communication needs, almost in real-time.
The satellite has the ability to be re-programmed while orbiting from a fixed position of 35,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) above the Earth, this allows Quantum to mold its satellite programs according to changing demands for data transmission during its 15 year lifetime.
The 3.5-tonne satellite model has 8 communication beams, each of which can be modified to change the area of coverage as well as the power of transmission of signal it emits.
Using software made available to the customer, these changes can be made “in a matter of minutes”, according to Eutelsat.