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Eutelsat announces successful launch of first software-defined satellite

Eutelsat Quantum uses technology developed by Airbus and SSTL in the UK under the ESA Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems programme and supported by the UK Space Agency.

Eutelsat has launched its Quantum satellite into Geostationary Transfer Orbit by Arianespace using an Ariane 5 rocket that lifted off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The separation occurred after a 37-minute flight and the spacecraft systems checkout was then completed over a period of approximately three hours.

Built by Airbus Defence and Space, Eutelsat Quantum heralds a new era of commercial satellite service. Its in-orbit reprogrammable features will enable users, notably in the government and mobility markets, to actively define and shape performance and reach due to its software-based design.

To be located at 48° East, and due to enter service during the fourth quarter of calendar 2021, Eutelsat Quantum will offer extensive coverage of the MENA region and beyond.

ESA and the UK Space Agency supported the development of the core technologies integrated into Eutelsat Quantum, within the framework of a public-private partnership between ESA, Eutelsat and Airbus Defence and Space.

Commenting on the launch, Pascal Homsy, Eutelsat’s Chief Technical Officer said: “Our congratulations to Arianespace and the Guiana Space Center teams for successfully launching the Eutelsat Quantum satellite. The collaboration between Eutelsat, ESA, the UK Space Agency and Airbus Defence and Space on this ambitious satellite programme has resulted in a world-first. Eutelsat Quantum will supply services with unprecedented in-orbit reconfigurability in coverage, frequency and power, allowing complete mission rehaul, at any orbital position. It is a testimony to the innovative spirit and expertise of the European Space industry.”