Quantum

Quantum is a pioneering mission that will influence how telecom satellites are procured and built in Europe by offering a new, generic payload design. 

More flexibility, faster and cheaper

Quantum is a shift from custom-designed, one-off payloads to a more generic approach, resulting in:

–      Reduced cost and time through a modular and scalable answer to the payload specification, design, technology and manufacturing;
–      Unprecedented in-orbit reconfigurability in coverage, frequency and power, allowing complete mission rehaul, including orbital position.

A better solution

It addresses satellite operators’ growing needs for:

–      Agility in responding to changes in geographical or performance market demand, during satellite manufacturing or after launch, and addressing emerging business opportunities;
–      More efficient use of satellite resources and customised allocation of resources to time-variant requests;
–      Vastly improved fleet management including operations from different orbital locations and resource reallocation;
–      Interference mitigation including geolocation of interference sources.

Boosting European industry

This approach will have a far-reaching effect on European competitiveness in the commercial flexible communication payloads market across a large range of payload sizes. It will do so through an innovative payload architecture that uses generic subsystems and equipment, enabling larger-scale production and optimised stock control, which is not possible today owing to ever-changing specifications. Quantum technology will be able to meet the future flexible-payload market demand, which is expected to be five to eight payloads per year.

A new concept on a new platform

Quantum will be carried on a new European, modular, flexible and reliable geostationary telecom platform.

–      For satellites with up to 7 kW/450 kg payloads;
–      Compatible with many commercial launchers;
–      There is growing market demand for satellites of this size class, estimated at up to eight per year, fuelled by:
–      Smaller domestic operators in emerging markets looking for affordable entry opportunities to an indigenous capability or addressing domestic needs; 
–      Established operators desiring a cost-effective upgrade or replacement of capacity but also as a rapid response to filling an orbital slot.

A European industrial product

ESA’s Quantum initiative covers the development, qualification and in-orbit validation of the first flight model of the Quantum satellite (both payload and platform elements).

Quantum satellite main characteristics:

–      Satellite launch mass: 3.5 tonnes
–      Lifetime: 15 years
–      Payload power: 5 kW
–      Payload mass: 450 kg

Quantum will be developed by a core team: Airbus Defence & Space (UK) as the satellite and payload prime, SSTL (GB) for the provision of the platform, and Airbus Defence & Space (formerly EADS CASA)  (ES), Space Engineering (IT), along with other industrial companies from ESA Member States for the innovative subsystems.

Developed through a public–private partnership

Quantum will be implemented in a public–private partnership between ESA, Airbus Defence & Space and Eutelsat, a renowned global satellite operator, enabling:

–      The crucial first flight and operational validation with a prominent customer;
–      A high return on the ESA funding thanks to the additional source of financing from the operator;
–      An attractive opportunity for the operator to incorporate a high degree of innovation into its operational fleet thanks to the support from ESA to mitigate technological risk.

Eutelsat will brand the Quantum concept using the name Eutelsat Quantum.

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