European Space Agency (ESA) launched ‘Eutelsat Quantum’, the world’s 1st commercial reprogrammable satellite into space aboard Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana. It is a fully flexible software-defined satellite. The satellite has been developed under a European Space Agency partnership project with satellite operator Eutelsat, Airbus & Surrey Satellite Technology.
A reprogrammable satellite allows the user to repurpose it even after being launched into orbit. It can be reprogrammed in real-time to suit the changing purposes of the user. The Quantum satellite is capable of responding to changing demands for data transmission and secure communication during its lifespan of 15 years and will cover the areas from West Africa to Asia. The satellite will remain in geostationary orbit for its 15-year lifespan, after which it will be safely placed in a graveyard orbit away from Earth to avoid becoming a risk to other satellites.
About the Satellite:
Eutelsat Quantum is a UK flagship project with most of the satellites developed and manufactured by British industry. Airbus is the prime contractor and was responsible for building the satellite’s innovative payload, while Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd manufactured the new platform. The innovative phase array antenna was developed by Airbus in Spain.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
- European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states;
- European Space Agency was established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris.