Eutelsat’s sophisticated Quantum 3.5 tonne satellite should launch on July 30th subject to any last minute weather or technical hitches.
The current timetable calls for the launch to happen in a window which opens at 21.00 until 22.30 UTC onboard an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.
The satellite, built by Airbus, and using a software-based design, it will be the first universal satellite to be repeatedly adjustable to business requirements. It will be based at 48° East and offer extensive coverage of the MENA region and beyond.
The satellite’s in-orbit reprogrammable features will set a new standard in flexibility and will principally address markets that are highly changeable and mobile, says Eutelsat.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has helped fund some of the craft’s technology and was developed under an ESA Partnership Project with Eutelsat and prime manufacturer Airbus.
Eutelsat Quantum is the first commercial fully flexible software-defined satellite in the world.
Because it can be reprogrammed in orbit, it can respond to changing demands for data transmission and secure communications during its 15-year lifetime. Its beams can be redirected to move in almost real time to provide information to passengers on board moving ships or planes. The beams also can be easily adjusted to deliver more data when demand surges.