Friday, April 19, 2024

Re-programmable satellite to make Quantum communication leap

The world’s first commercial fully re-programmable satellite lifted off from French Guiana today on board an Ariane 5 rocket, ushering in a new era of more flexible communications, reports. Unlike conventional models that are designed and “hard-wired” on Earth and cannot be repurposed once in orbit, the Eutelsat Quantum allows users to tailor the communications to their needs – almost in real time. The satellite was placed in orbit about 36 minutes after launch. Because it can be re-programmed while orbiting in a fixed position 35,000 kilometers above the Earth, the Quantum can respond to changing demands for data transmission and secure communications during its 15-year lifetime, according to the European Space Agency. The 3.5-ton Quantum model has eight communications beams, each of which can be modified to change its area of coverage and the power of the signal it emits. Using software made available to the customer, these changes can be made “in a matter of minutes”, according to Eutelsat. This means the satellite can be used to provide mobile coverage for moving objects such as aircraft or oceangoing vessels, to provide coverage after a natural disaster, or for one-off events. At a time of growing concern over digital security – as well as the possible weaponizing of space – Quantum is able to pinpoint the origin of signals emitted with or without malicious intent and take action to remedy the interference. The Quantum will cover an area from West Africa to Asia.

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