A sophisticated telecommunications satellite that can be completely repurposed while in orbit has launched on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Developed under an ESA Partnership Project with satellite operator Eutelsat and prime manufacturer Airbus, the new Eutelsat Quantum is ready to meet the increasing demand for high-throughput and mobility services.
What is EUTELSAT 172B?
The ESA?s New Satellite Is Nearly Ready for Launch
The European Space Agency (ESA) has just announced that its next telecommunications satellite, EUTELSAT 172B, is almost ready for launch. Designed and built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat Communications, the satellite is currently in the final phase of preparation before being sent into orbit.
It will be the first commercial communications satellite to use electric propulsion, which offers significant weight savings during its life in orbit and also reduces fuel costs. After a series of critical manoeuvres, including positioning of electric propulsion motors attached to robotic arms and full deployment of solar panels to generate power, the satellite will be moved into its operational orbit.
This is the start of a new chapter in the history of telecommunications satellites and it will give rise to a new generation of fully reconfigurable satellites that can respond to changing demands on Earth. This will allow for more capacity to be delivered when demand is high, or less when demand is low, and enable the beams on a satellite to be adjusted at the push of a button to deliver more data in real time to users on board moving planes and ships.
The telecommunications industry is facing major challenges in terms of capacity and efficiency and this new satellite, which will be operated by Eutelsat, has been designed to meet those needs with an innovative fifth-generation digital transparent processor that offers maximum flexibility in terms of capacity allocation and spectrum utilization. This will allow for the exploitation of more than 50 GHz of bandwidth, offering an increased throughput of around 35 Gbps.
The satellite will deliver high-throughput services (HTS) to the aviation and maritime sectors across Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Africa and the Indian Ocean with two Ku-band widebeam payloads that offer capacity and coverage in the busiest traffic zones. Firm multi-year capacity commitments have been secured with a number of key in-flight connectivity service providers, representing more than one third of the added HTS capacity that the new satellite will provide.
What is its primary mission?
The ESA’s new satellite is nearing launch, and its primary mission is to monitor the Earth’s climate. It will join a group of spacecraft that help to track the temperature of the planet, called the Copernicus program.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is a scientific research organisation that carries out space science projects, launches new spacecraft and operates the International Space Station. In addition, it has joint programmes with the United States and Russia.
Since its founding in 1975, ESA has carried out a range of missions. Most of these are uncrewed, but it has sent astronauts into space on several occasions.
NASA has been the main partner for the majority of these missions, although ESA has also contributed to some. Examples include the Cassini-Huygens mission, which was launched in 2005 and landed the Huygens probe on Saturn’s moon Titan.
Other missions that have been conducted by ESA include Comet Halley’s flyby, the first-ever spacecraft observing the comet in orbit, and Hipparcos, the astrometry mission that catalogued over 118,200 stars.
ESA has also carried out many Earth observation missions. These are designed to monitor climate change by tracking changes in the Earth’s surface and atmosphere.
The most recent of these is GOCE, a gravity measurement mission that launched in 2009 and is currently operating. It is the largest and most sophisticated of all ESA’s Earth-observing satellites.
In the future, ESA is planning to send a lander to Jupiter’s Europa or Saturn’s Enceladus, which are believed to have water oceans hidden beneath their icy crusts.
It is also planning to deliver two service modules to the Lunar Gateway, a space station that is being developed by NASA. The first module will provide communications and refuelling infrastructure, and the second will carry a viewing port.
The ESA’s main goal is to conduct research and experiments that explore more about our world, its immediate space environment, and the Solar System. It works closely with other space organisations around the globe.
What is its payload?
The payload of a spacecraft or satellite is the part that provides its services to customers. It is often a complex array of equipment that includes hardware, software and systems that support communication between Earth and the satellite, as well as data storage and retrieval.
Eutelsat 172B is no exception. It is a high-tech spacecraft designed to be a high-capacity telecommunications platform. It has two multi-beam high throughput Ku-band payloads that will allow the satellite to provide more than a gigabit of bandwidth per second.
It is also the first commercial spacecraft to use electric propulsion, which can save weight while still delivering impressive performance and a long service life.
The most important function of the satellite is to provide Eutelsat customers with high-speed broadband Internet, primarily through a network of high-performance antennas deployed at geosynchronous orbit. It will also allow for the delivery of other communications technologies, such as television and mobile radio. Currently, Eutelsat is the largest satellite operator in Europe and has a global presence with operations in over 60 countries. The company employs over 1,200 people and has a long history of innovation. It is a member of the SITA consortium, whose members share space technologies and infrastructure to meet customer needs around the world.
What is its launch date?
EUTELSAT 172B, the latest satellite from the European Space Agency, is nearly ready for launch and could be headed to orbit next month. The satellite, which will be launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, has been in a state of readiness for months.
The satellite will carry two high throughput Ku-band payloads to provide wide-area coverage across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The payloads will each have a range of 50 GHz and will be able to process more than 35 Gbps of data.
It will also have a dual-frequency antenna and two optical payloads, one of which will provide a high-resolution view of the North Atlantic region. In addition, it will have a telemetry suite that will allow operators to track its position at all times.
Although the launch date has not yet been announced, it is widely expected to happen in the first quarter of 2023. That is after the European Space Agency revealed a new fourth-quarter target for the first launch of its Ariane 6 heavy-lift rocket, which was set to be in service in 2020.
But a key factor in the delay was an issue with a crucial cryogenic connection system. A test was just completed, a senior European official told reporters, and now that the system is up and running, it will be easy to meet the fourth-quarter 2023 deadline.
However, Esa director general Josef Aschbacher said that the target would only hold if outstanding technical objectives were met. He pointed to three critical milestones that need to be achieved by the end of the year, including successful completion of a hot-firing test campaign for the upper stage of the Ariane 6.
Another milestone is the development of a new generation of reusable rockets. That will allow for a significant increase in capacity for future missions.
The Ariane 6 programme also involves a major upgrade to the existing Vega launcher, which is being designed to counter lower-cost competition from SpaceX. The upgrade should lead to two or four Vega-C solid-fuel first stages, which will double as strap-on boosters for Ariane 6.