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Europe lays foundation of space-based data highway

Europe lays foundation of space-based data highway

By eeNews Europe



The European Data Relay Satellite System EDRS is said to be a landmark in space-based satellite communications. Designed and built in a private-public partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and aerospace enterprise Airbus Defence and Space, the system will relay up to 1.8 gigabit of date per second from space to earth with minimum delay. The first EDRS “customers” will be Sentinel earth observation satellites that continuously track the surface of the earth by means of optical and radar sensors. In the future, it will also forward data from unmanned aerial vehicles deployed over crisis regions and providing data for rescue teams and other crisis intervention teams. In addition, the International Space Station ISS will join the EDRS user community. From 2017, the EDRS network will consist of two distributor nodes, EDRS-A and EDRS-C.

Due to their geostationary orbit in an altitude of 36.000 kilometres, the two nodes will be able to receive broadband data transmitted by lower-flying earth observation satellites and forward them to the earth without significant delay. These data are then received by fourThe European Data Relay Satellite System EDRS is said to be a landmark in space-based satellite communications. Designed and built in a private-public partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and aerospace enterprise Airbus Defence and Space, the system will relay up to 1.8 gigabit of date per second from space to earth with minimum delay. The first EDRS “customers” will be Sentinel earth observation satellites that continuously track the surface of the earth by means of optical and radar sensors. In the future, it will also forward data from unmanned aerial vehicles deployed over crisis regions and providing data for rescue teams and other crisis intervention teams. In addition, the International Space Station ISS will join the EDRS user community. From 2017, the EDRS network will consist of two distributor nodes, EDRS-A and EDRS-C.

Due to their geostationary orbit in an altitude of 36.000 kilometres, the two nodes will be able to receive broadband data transmitted by lower-flying earth observation satellites and forward them to the earth without significant delay. These data are then received by four tracking stations across Europe – two in Germany, one in Belgium and one in the UK. The system closes a communications gap: Data transmissions from low-flying satellites and UAVs can be received only during relatively narrow timeslots – during the times when there is a line-of-sight connection between transmitter and ground stations.

EDRS utilises optical laser links that offer a bandwidth of up to 1.6 gigabit per second, significantly higher than traditional radio links. In addition, they do not depend on overcrowded radio frequency bands. In its final configuration, the EDRS will forward more than 50 terabytes per day to the ground stations.

EDRS-A, the node that recently has been launched, will start operations in summer of 2016. The second node will be transported to its orbit in 2017 on board of an Ariane-5 carrier missile from the European space centre in Kourou.  
 tracking stations across Europe – two in Germany, one in Belgium and one in the UK. The system closes a communications gap: Data transmissions from low-flying satellites and UAVs can be received only during relatively narrow timeslots – during the times when there is a line-of-sight connection between transmitter and ground stations.

EDRS utilises optical laser links that offer a bandwidth of up to 1.6 gigabit per second, significantly higher than traditional radio links. In addition, they do not depend on overcrowded radio frequency bands. In its final configuration, the EDRS will forward more than 50 terabytes per day to the ground stations.

EDRS-A, the node that recently has been launched, will start operations in summer of 2016. The second node will be transported to its orbit in 2017 on board of an Ariane-5 carrier missile from the European space centre in Kourou.  

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