The French company Eutelsat announced the successful launch of Quantum. It is the first satellite whose parameters can be edited in real time.
The world’s first commercial and fully reprogrammable satellite was launched into space. Launched with an Ariane 5 rocket in Guiana, the researchers note that it will open up opportunities for new, more flexible types of communication.
Unlike conventional models, which are developed and hard-coded on Earth and cannot be reprogrammed once into orbit, Eutelsat Quantum allows users to tailor communications to their needs in near real-time. The satellite was launched into orbit approximately 36 minutes after launch.
Because it can be reprogrammed while in orbit at a fixed position 35,000 kilometers above Earth, Quantum will be able to respond to changing data and secure communications needs over its 15 years of operation.
The 3.5 tonne Quantum model has eight communication beams, each of which can be modified to change the coverage area, as well as the power of the telecommunication signal it radiates. According to Eutelsat representatives, with the help of software provided to the customer, these changes can be made “in a matter of minutes.”
This means the satellite can be used to provide mobile coverage for moving objects such as airplanes or ocean vessels, or to provide coverage after natural disasters or for one-off events. In a time of growing concern over digital security and the potential use of space as a weapon, the Quantum satellite is able to pinpoint the origin of signals and take action to eliminate interference.