The Eutelsat Quantum will become the first satellite in space history capable of being completely reprogrammed after launch.
The British-built chameleon satellite is part of the new Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) platform.
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the new chassis provides a payload with structure, power and the ability to propel itself through space.
Representing a major first for the company, SSTL’s platform weighs in at just over 1 ton, which is an order of magnitude bigger than any other satellite they have built in the past.
The new technologies aboard – the home-grown structure, momentum wheels and gyros – also ensures SSTL’s entry into the global geostationary satellite market.
It will soon travel from SSTL Guildford to join the rest of the mission’s technologies in Airbus France, where it will be mated with its ground-breaking payload.
Eutelsat Quantum gains its nickname the ‘chameleon’ satellite on account of its software-driven approach.
This implies that all manner of changes can be made to the mission while it is in orbit, like adjusting the satellite’s coverage, frequency, power, and even orbital position.
It also marks a shift from the traditional custom-designed, one-off payloads and is a first for all parties involved.
The telecom satellite is developed under an ARTES public – private partnership between ESA and Eutelsat.
Both ESA and Eutelsat will operate the satellite and use its flexibility to respond to the ever-evolving market much more effectively.
Image and content: Eutelsat Quantum/ESA