Universal Satellite to be Developed in the United Kingdom

August 31, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. satellite / ˈsæt lˌaɪt / (n.) – a machine or device sent into space
Example: The satellite took images of the moon.

2. breakthrough / ˈbreɪkˌθru / (n.) – any significant innovation or discovery
Example: The invention of the telephone was a breakthrough in communication.

3. reconfigure / ˌri kənˈfɪg yər / (v.) – to change the form or the way something is used
Example: Some aircraft can be reconfigured for high altitude flights.

4. define / dɪˈfaɪn / (v.) – to explain, identify, or describe something
Example: The manager defined the employee’s new role.

5. maritime / ˈmær ɪˌtaɪm / (adj.) – referring to any business or activity done by sea
Example: The maritime industry is one of the country’s most important sources of income.


Read the text below.
The European Space Agency (ESA) will now develop a universal satellite in the United Kingdom.

Named Quantum, the universal satellite was initially a project by the ESA. However, satellite operator Eutelsat [YOO-tel-sat] and manufacturer Airbus Defence and Space have agreed to collaborate with the ESA during the satellite’s development.

Built to be a spacecraft, Quantum is predicted to be a breakthrough as it will be the first satellite to have the ability to reconfigure on its own. This means that the satellite is programmed not only to take on a variety of missions—it can also be reprogrammed in space to do a new task. With this ability, there would be no need to purchase and launch a whole new satellite when its original task needs to be changed.

While the Eutelsat has yet to define Quantum’s primary function, the satellite will probably work mainly as a frequency band. The satellite will thus be sending out videos, calls, data, and broadband connectivity to a variety of customers. Eutelsat chairman and CEO Michel [MEE-shel] de Rosen mentioned that in marketing Quantum, the company plans to focus on governments, maritime companies, data operators, and other users with the greatest need for this technology.

Unlike other satellites, Quantum differs as it provides users with flexibility and performance in terms of coverage, connection, frequency, and power based on their needs. Because it can be reconfigured, Quantum will be much more affordable and faster to build than other current satellites.

The development of the satellite, which will cost as much as 250 million euros, will be completed in 2018.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with governments spending more money to build satellites? Why or why not?
·         If you were to develop your own satellite, what would its main function be? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         How does studying outer space benefit people?
·         How do you see the world 50 years from now?

August 31, 2015