European Space Agency

Active antenna ready to ship for integration on Quantum satellite

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Representatives from Eutelsat, Airbus, the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology and ESA with the Quantum active array antenna developed by Airbus Spain. Image credit: Airbus

The antenna that will enable the full reconfiguration in orbit of a commercial telecommunications satellite is about to be integrated onto Quantum, a satellite which will change the way that satellite communication is performed.

The new and innovative “ELSA+” active receive antenna, designed and built by Airbus in  Spain, is the final key in unlocking Quantum’s world-beating capabilities.

It will enable the innovative satellite to adapt to new demands in coverage, bandwidth, power and frequency as well as to provide new features such as geo-localisation capacity, interference mitigation and beam-hopping.

Quantum, unlike other satellites, will adjust and adapt to new business requirements and operate in any geographic region in the world.

Known as a “chameleon” satellite, customers will be able to request point-to-point communication between two locations at the touch of a button.

Quantum is being built under a Partnership Project between manufacturers Airbus and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, operator Eutelsat and ESA.

ESA’s Partnership Projects aim to achieve economic impacts and competitive leaps forward by federating industry around large-scale programmes.

The Quantum project, supported by the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology, positions Airbus in Spain as a leading European company for active antennas, opening the door to future commercial opportunities.

Quantum is well suited to provide communications on the move. Its beam shaping and vessel-tracking capabilities can efficiently connect travellers making journeys by air, sea and land.

It will be used for data networks, enabling the bespoke design of wide-area networks and dynamic traffic shaping, and responding to demand where and when needed.

Governments will be able to use Quantum to provide rapid responses to natural disasters and public emergencies.

The active receive antenna will now be integrated in the Airbus satellite test facility in Toulouse. The satellite will then complete its extensive testing prior to shipment to its launch site.

Published 29 November 2019
Last updated at 11 December 2019 - 14:21