The Ariane 5 rocket successfully launched the Eutelsat Quantum satellite on Friday, the first “flexible” commercial satellite that can be reprogrammed in orbit.
This first Ariane 5 of the year took off from Kourou (French Guiana) at the opening of its firing window at 6 p.m. local time, 11 p.m. in Paris, with two satellites on board on behalf of satellite operators Embratel, the most important from Brazil and Latin America, and Eutelsat, one of the world leaders in the sector.
Nearly half an hour later, the two satellites were in orbit almost four minutes apart. Eutelsat Quantum is the world’s first so-called “flexible” commercial satellite. It will allow Eutelsat customers to reconfigure the satellite in real time, from power to spectrum to frequency.
The other telecommunications satellite launched is Star One D2 which, at six tonnes, is the largest ever ordered by Embratel.
Commissioned five years ago, Eutelsat Quantum is the result of a public-private partnership involving the European Space Agency, operator Eutelsat and Airbus Defense and Space. The European operator expects a lot from this new technology, which is presented as a world first.
Each of Quantum’s eight beams will be modular, both in coverage area, power or frequency, “in a few minutes”, via software made available to the customer, according to Eutelsat.
This flexibility of use will make it possible, for example, to provide mobile coverage for planes, ships, or government services, for example in the event of natural disasters or one-off events. It also paves the way for production closer to the series of satellites, which have hitherto been unique objects.
“Quantum is at the forefront of software solutions for commercial spacecraft because we are the first to respond to market demand for extreme flexibility for customers,” said Élodie Viau, director of telecommunications and integrated applications at the European Space Agency.A lire aussiNews – Attica and Brae appear again in the longlist of the best restaurants in the world for 2021
The launch of this first Ariane 5 of the year will be followed by two more Ariane, not to mention a Vega and a Soyuz this summer, Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said.