The first laser node of the European Data Relay System was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan atop a Proton rocket on 29 January at 22:20 GMT.
Dubbed the ‘SpaceDataHighway’, EDRS will uniquely provide near-realtime Big Data relay services using cutting-edge laser technology. It will dramatically improve access to time-critical data, aiding disaster response by emergency services and maritime surveillance.
The first node, EDRS-A, was launched as a hosted payload on Eutelsat-9B, a commercial telecom satellite operated by Eutelsat. EDRS is a public–private partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space.