Eutelsat to offer software-defined satellites

Monday, December 8th, 2014 
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Eutelsat breaks new ground with software-defined “Eutelsat Quantum” class satellite

PARIS — Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) announces a ground-breaking programme that will raise the bar for service delivery by enabling its clients for the first time to actively define the performance and flexibility they need from a satellite. The innovative software-defined “Eutelsat Quantum” class of satellites will set new standards in terms of coverage, bandwidth, power and frequency configurability for users operating in government, mobility and data markets.

Artist's rendition of the new Eutelsat Quantum class satellite (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

The development of the core technologies integrated into the “Eutelsat Quantum” design will be supported by ESA following the approval by its Council on December 2 of this new programme within the framework of a Public-Private Partnership with Eutelsat. The first satellite, to be launched in 2018, will be primed and manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space (ADS) in the UK using its innovative flexible payload technology and a new platform from its affiliate, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL). Both developments are supported by the UK Space Agency.

The new design will represent a first in the commercial satellite industry by enabling the complete electronic synthesis of ‘receive’ and ‘transmit’ coverages in the Ku-band, including on-board jamming detection and mitigation. It will give customers access to premium capacity through footprint shaping and steering, power (Mbps) and frequency band pairing that they will be able to actively define.

By adapting dynamically to all frequency bands in each ITU region, the “Eutelsat Quantum” class satellite will also be the first generation of universal satellites able to serve any region of the world. This ability to mirror or complement another satellite anywhere in geostationary orbit will offer a level of flexibility that will transform fleet management and enable a significantly more efficient use of resources.

Michel de Rosen, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat, said: “We are delighted to initiate this ground-breaking programme with the support of ESA, as well as our longstanding partner, Airbus Defence and Space. Developing solutions that give our customers control over the performance and adaptability they need from our satellites is a key ambition for Eutelsat. With the “Eutelsat Quantum”’ class of satellite we will deliver on this goal, offering an incomparable level of efficiency and flexibility in data, mobility and government services markets.”

Magali Vaissiere, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications of the European Space Agency (ESA), said: “ESA is delighted that the work initiated with Eutelsat and European industry on the design and technological development of flexible payloads has reached this point. This new generation of payload will pave the way for increasingly innovative missions in the future.”

“Following on from KA-SAT and the all-electric EUTELSAT 172B satellite, we are pleased to partner with Eutelsat once more on this breakthrough programme. Benefiting from our extensive experience and capability for flexible payloads, the “Eutelsat Quantum” design will mark a break from conventional payload architectures and feature unprecedented levels of in orbit re-configurability,” added Eric Béranger, Head of Programmes, Space Systems/ Airbus Defence and Space.