HomeOthersWorld’s first fully flexible satellite lifts-off

World’s first fully flexible satellite lifts-off

World’s first fully flexible satellite lifts-off

Foreign Bureau/ royalpatiala.in

A UK-built satellite capable of being reprogrammed in space has successfully launched from French Guiana in South America.

Eutelsat Quantum, backed by UK Space Agency funding and built in Britain by Airbus in Portsmouth and Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) in Guildford, is the first of a new generation of fully reconfigurable satellites that can respond while in orbit to changing demands on Earth.

Until now large satellites were configured on the ground for specific tasks that could not be changed after launch. Eutelsat Quantum’s coverage, bandwidth, power and frequency can all be altered in orbit.

The satellite’s beams can be redirected to switch between functions from broadcasting TV, enabling data protection and recovery, to delivering data connections to aeroplanes to improve communication for passengers. This flexibility means satellite operators can offer a wealth of new and emerging applications such as the next generation of drones supporting the NHS or connectivity in driverless cars supporting road safety, at the press of a button, without having to wait for years for bespoke equipment to be produced.

Named due to the quantum leap it brings in space telecommunications, the satellite could also support government broadband services in remote and rural areas, and help monitor critical national infrastructure such as water supply, energy and farming.

World’s first fully flexible satellite lifts-off

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “this game-changing technology will ensure the UK continues to lead the world on telecommunications satellites and further bolster our growing space sector, which already generates £16.4 billion of income annually and supports 45,000 jobs.”

The UK Space Agency has invested £65 million in Eutelsat Quantum, through the European Space Agency, in addition to an expected £170 million from UK industry.

Elodie Viau, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, said “I am proud to witness the successful launch of Eutelsat Quantum, which is the result of an ESA Partnership Project. ESA fosters innovation in the space industry in the UK and across Europe, enabling it to succeed in the highly competitive global telecommunications markets. Investing in space creates jobs and prosperity on Earth.”

World’s first fully flexible satellite lifts-off. Eutelsat Quantum’s final geostationary position is some 22,000 miles above the Earth and it will come into service in October.

The 3.5-tonne telecommunications satellite, which is the size of a delivery van, was developed under an ESA Partnership Project with French operator Eutelsat, satellite manufacturers Airbus and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

The satellite consists of three main components. The payload was built in Portsmouth, the platform was built in Guildford and the active receive antenna was built in Madrid. These three components came together in the Airbus satellite test facility in Toulouse prior to shipment to launch site.

About 1,000 people worked on the project across Europe including more than 500 Airbus staff in Portsmouth and Stevenage including payload design engineers, software engineers, spacecraft assembly teams, design office teams, payload manufacturing teams, and supply chain specialists.

July 31,2021



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