Airbus DS’s Quantum, the first fully flexible satellite for the telecommunications market, is designed to deliver instant access to data wherever you are – without extra mass or cost.
Telecommunications satellites are typically designed with fixed coverage and connectivity – and a minimum lifespan of around 15 years. This means that satellite operators have to predict market developments over a long period. In today’s fast-moving markets, there is a big risk of getting it wrong. Customers need a flexible satellite to redirect power and spectrum as the business need changes.
That is what Quantum has achieved. “Quantum allows the customer to redefine coverage, connectivity and bandwidth from the ground. It’s flexible in all three dimensions,” says Paul Gidney, Quantum Project Manager.
It has achieved this by bringing together different technologies that complement each other, like the active antenna developed at Airbus DS in Spain, the generic flexible payload from Portsmouth, UK, and SSTL’s cost-effective geostationary mini satellite plateform (GMP-T). This reduces also the mass, and mass is one of the major drivers in the overall cost of ownership, directly affecting launch cost.
Having just passed the preliminary design review, with a delivery date in 2019, Airbus Defence and Space engineers are carrying out qualificationreviews with suppliers and developing the design. With Quantum’s generic design, future builds should be cheaper and with a shorter delivery schedule.