The first European satellite capable of being completely reprogrammed after launch, developed in an ESA Partnership Programme, has passed another important milestone. The communications module of Eutelsat Quantum has completed its baseline payload testing at Airbus in Toulouse.
The satellite takes a software-driven approach, which allows changes to be made to the mission while it is in orbit, such as adjusting the satellite’s coverage, frequency and power, which enables it to operate from any orbital position.
It will now enter the Airbus compact antenna test range facility, where its complex and highly flexible payload will be further tested.
Once the test is complete, the communications module will be coupled to the platform module and readied for overall spacecraft testing.
Eutelsat Quantum is being developed under a public–private partnership between ESA, operator Eutelsat and Airbus, under ESA's Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme. By taking an efficient co-management approach tailored to commercial best practice, ESA is able to maximise the benefits of its co-funding to industry, constantly reinforcing its position as a trusted partner for industry and operators.
The partnership, which has the backing of the UK Space Agency, includes Airbus UK (as prime contractor and payload provider) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, which provided the satellite’s innovative platform. Between them, they manufactured and integrated most of the satellite’s cutting-edge equipment in the UK.
Eutelsat Quantum is due for delivery to its launch site by the end of 2019.