Eutelsat Quantum is a pioneering mission that will influence how telecom satellites are procured and manufactured in Europe.
It is a shift from custom-designed, one-off payloads to a more generic approach, resulting in unprecedented in-orbit reconfigurability in coverage, frequency and power, allowing complete mission rehaul, including orbital position. ESA, Eutelsat and Airbus designed this programme in response to today's market requiring satellites to be able to respond to changes in geographical or performance demand either during manufacturing or after launch. This would enable the operator, Eutelsat, to address emerging business opportunities even after having ordered a satellite.
This flexibility means more efficient use of satellite resources can be made, and those resources can be allocated in response to time-variant requests.
A software-defined satellite
The satellite can meet these requirements through its design: Eutelsat Quantum is fitted with a suite of powerful operational software, which ensures that the payload resources are used as efficiently as possible. The software tool predicts, operates and manages the on-board configuration and reconfiguration of the satellite.
The mission will be implemented under a public-private partnership between ESA and satellite operator Eutelsat, and developed by a core team, managed by Eutelsat: Airbus (UK) as the satellite and payload prime, SSTL (UK) for the provision of the platform, and Airbus (ES), Space Engineering (IT), Norspace (NO) and Airbus (NL) along with other industrial companies from ESA Member States for the provision of innovative sub-systems.
The main characteristics of the Eutelsat Quantum mission are:
- Launch: Second half of 2019
- Satellite launch mass: 3.5 tonnes
- Lifetime: 15 years
- Payload power: 5.5 kW
- Payload mass: 450 kg