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N° 4–2015: ESA and Airbus DS confirm partnership to complete the full European Data Relay System

30 January 2015

This decision follows the successful test campaign of the first multigigabit optical intersatellite link between the Copernicus Sentinel-1A and Alphasat satellites. This campaign, a precursor of the European Data Relay System, or EDRS, has paved the way for an entirely new approach of delivering data, with space systems becoming part of the global Big Data challenge.

The EDRS system consists of the first payload, EDRS-A, to be launched by mid-2015 on the Eutelsat-9B satellite, followed by a satellite, EDRS-C. The EDRS-C satellite, based on a SmallGEO platform from OHB Systems AG, will also carry Avanti’s HYLAS-3 telecommunications payload.

EDRS’ unique features include a bidirectional optical intersatellite link operating at 1.8 Gbit/s, based on the Laser Communication Terminal developed by TESAT in Germany under funding from DLR German Aerospace Center, a bidirectional Ka-band link offering a bandwidth of 300 MHz, on EDRS-A, as well as a 1.8 Gbit/s feeder link to the ground.

The positioning of the two EDRS payloads on the geostationary arc offers near-realtime transmission of, for example, Earth observation images to the ground at unprecedented speeds.  

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, are likely soon to become new ESA Member States.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with six other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more about ESA at

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Tel: +33 1 5369 7299

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