Question: How will technology and market trends drive the design, size and weight of future satellites that are to handle the type of broadcast, broadband, telecom services provided by Eutelsat?
Michel de Rosen: Each market segment has its own unique requirements and therefore creates different demands on the satellite payload. In the case of broadband delivery, the HTS satellites of the future are likely to contain more transponders and spot beams which means they are likely to get more complex and bigger to allow for even more capacity delivered to the ground from a single satellite.
In the other areas of broadcast and telecom service delivery, the technologies are likely to be driven by a desire from the operators for greater on-board flexibility which can be exercised even after the satellites are launched. Systems that include reconfigurable or active array antennas provide both the ability to relocate the coverage areas while in orbit and also provide better resistance to interference - both accidental and intentional. Flexibility in frequency planning and payload power consumption will also be in demand to optimize business plans with existing satellite resources. In general, these developments will likely be accommodated on satellites of sizes similar to those that Eutelsat launches today.
Finally, the advent of electric propulsion will have a significant effect on total satellite launch mass. This technology will give operators the ability to decide whether to put more payload on a given satellite or maintain an existing payload size and reduce the overall launch mass.