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Eutelsat’s software-defined satellite enters commercial service

The first commercial satellite in Europe capable of being completely reprogrammed while in space has been put into commercial service.
Artistic rendition of Eutelsat’s Quantum satellite, courtesy of the ESA.

Satellite operator Eutelsat has sold six of its eight beams—used for information and cell communications—to organisations, including governments and other users.

It is expected that the entire satellite capacity will be sold in the coming months.

The satellite – Eutelsat Quantum – was launched on July 30, 2021, by an Ariane 5 from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. Its beams can be reshaped and redirected to provide information to people on moving planes, trucks and cars in close to real-time.

Eutelsat Quantum is a collaboration under an ESA Partnership Project between Eutelsat and satellite manufacturer Airbus, with significant support from the UK Space Agency. The technologies were developed and manufactured in the UK and Spain, with additional contributions from companies based in Canada, Italy, Norway and the Netherlands.

Commenting on the development, Elodie Via, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, said: “ESA’s Partnership Projects help to federate industry around large-scale programmes that have a demonstrable economic impact. This satellite commercialisation represents a major milestone for this successful ESA Partnership Project, creating jobs and prosperity across ESA’s member states.”