Last Friday a Ariane 5 rocket blasted off from French Guiana. It’s payload was Eutelsat Quantum – the worlds first commercial fully reprogrammable satellite.
Up to now, most commercial satellites are hard-wired before launch but the Eutelsat Quantum transmission beams can be reconfigured from the ground.
It is hoped that the Eutelsat Quantum will pioneer a new generation of satellites using flexible software which can be used by both governments and in mobility and data markets.
The satellite successfully reached a geostationary orbit 36km above Earth after launch after a successful system check.
The advantage of being able to reprogram the satellite on the fly means it can be redirected in almost real-time. Allowing it to better provide info to passengers onboard moving objects like ships, planes, trucks, lorries and other land-based transport.
It can also detect and analyse any ‘rogue’ emissions – that allows it to respond dynamically to accidental interference or intentional jamming.
The satellite will remain in geostationary orbit for its 15-year lifespan and cover a large area from west Africa to Asia. After that it will be safely placed in a graveyard orbit away from Earth to avoid becoming a risk to other satellites.