Relaying data via laser


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ESA / Applications / Telecommunications & Integrated Applications / EDRS

The European Data Relay System (EDRS) is the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed.

Dubbed the ‘SpaceDataHighway’, EDRS helps Earth-observing satellites to transmit large quantities of potentially life-saving data down to Europe in near-real time.

Its two geostationary satellites use optical links to gather low-orbiting satellites’ information at far higher data rates than traditional radio frequency beams. 

Facts and figures
  • Two geostationary payloads, EDRS-A and EDRS-C
  • Mission Operations Centres in Ottobrunn (DE) and Redu (BE)
  • Spacecraft/Payload Control Centres in Oberpfaffenhofen (DE)
  • Ground stations in Redu (BE), Harwell (GB), two in Weilheim (DE) and Matera (IT)


Launch dates
  • EDRS-A: 29 January 2016
  • EDRS-C: 2019


Launch site
  • EDRS-A: Baikonur, Kazakhstan
  • EDRS-C: Kourou, French Guiana


  • EDRS-A: Proton
  • EDRS-C: Ariane 5


Platform/host satellite


  • Satellite: Eutelsat-9B, Eutelsat (FR)
  • Platform: Eurostar 3000, Airbus (FR)



  • Satellite: EDRS-C Satellite, Airbus Defence and Space (DE)
  • Platform: SmallGEO-type, OHB Systems (DE), also hosting the Hylas-3 payload by Avanti (GB)


Intersatellite link capacity

  • Optical
  • Ka-band


  • Up to 1800 Mbit/s
  • Up to 300 Mbit/s


Link capacity to ground (Ka-band)


Up to 1800 Mbit/s
Data transmission capacity

At least 50 TBytes/day


Prime contractor

Airbus Defence and Space (DE)


Mission Operation Centre

Airbus Defence and Space (DE)


Anchor customer

ESA/EC Copernicus Sentinel-1 and -2


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