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Program: Eutelsat

EUropean TELecommunication SATellite, also called ECS (European Communication Satellite)

In 1979 the European Space Agency decided to build five ECS satellites whose management were given to the European organization Eutelsat. The Satellites were aimed to respond to the post and telecommunications needs and to transmit EBU's TV channels. To avoid frequencies attribution problems in C-band the satellites were designed to operate in Ku-band. The OTS program had provided test transmissions with small Earth stations using on board powerful transponders.

Eutelsat was officialy created in 1985. The initial mission was to complete the telephone networks without acting contrary to Intelsat laws. In fact, Eutelsat mainly makes profit with TV channels (65% of its profits).

Eutelsat was privatized as a French company by 2 July 2001. A separate intergovernmental organisation will continue to exist in order to monitor that the new company respects the basic principles of pan-European coverage, non discrimination, fair competition and universal service.


In 2015 a contract was signed with Airbus DS and ESA for the first fully reconfigurable Quantum satellite. It will be able to adapt to new demands in coverage, bandwidth, power, frequency configurability and even change its orbital position.
Quantum will be the first generation of universal satellites able to serve any region of the world and adjust to new business without the user needing to procure and launch an entirely new satellite. Featuring phased array antennas and flexible connectivity, which is fully reconfigurable in orbit, Quantum will be able to adjust its coverage and capacity to suit customers' needs as and when they change.
The new design is a first in the commercial satellite industry. It features software defined 'receive' and 'transmit' coverages in Ku-band, including on-board jamming detection and mitigation. It allows customers to maintain access to premium capacity throughout the 15 year lifetime of the satellite by allowing footprint shaping and steering, frequency adjustment and bandwidth reassignment.
The Eutelsat Quantum satellite will be primed and manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space in the UK and use a new small geo satellite platform called GMP-T from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (UK). Both developments are supported by the UK Space Agency.
Will be launched by Ariane.

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