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.
The satellite has been developed under an ESA Partnership Project with Eutelsat and engineering manufacturer Airbus.
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.