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Launch of the first Satellite in the “SpaceDataHighway” Programme

SpaceDataHighway will provide high-speed laser communication in space of extremely high volumes of data transfer, up to 50 terabytes per day

Issue 65

EDRS-A, the first relay satellite in the SpaceDataHighway programme (also called EDRS), will be launched to geostationary orbit on 28th January 2016. The SpaceDataHighway will provide high-speed laser communications in space of up to 1.8 Gigabit per second. This major programme, which cost nearly €500M to develop, is the result of a public-private partnership (PPP) between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Defence and Space.

Using communication relay satellites such as EDRS-A, the SpaceDataHighway will be able to transfer high volume information (images, video, data collected by sensors) from Earth observation satellites, UAVs and surveillance aircraft, or even from a space station such as the ISS. Thanks to the very high communication rates possible with laser (up to 1.8 Gbit/s) and the geostationary orbit positioning of the relay satellites, up to 50 terabytes per day can be transmitted securely in near-real-time to Earth, as opposed to the often 3 to 4 hour delay currently experienced.

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