kbahey writes: Traditionally, large satellites are configured on the ground for specific tasks that cannot be changed after launch, even if market demands evolve. The new "Quantum" satellite scheduled to be launched soon, will change all that: its coverage, bandwidth, power and frequency can all be altered in orbit. The 3.5-ton spacecraft will be operated by Paris-based telecom operator Eutelsat, in a R&D partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), with manufacturer Airbus acting as the prime contractor. A company official stated that the satellite "will bring unprecedented flexibility to our customers, allowing for in-orbit payload re-configuration and taking customization to a new level, while also opening the way to a paradigm shift in the manufacture of telecommunications satellites." The BBC says "being able to totally reconfigure an in-orbit platform would allow an operator to adapt to any shifts in the business landscape -- without the need to build and launch another bespoke platform." All the operator would have to do is simply reprogram the existing satellite.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.