The European Data Relay System (EDRS) is a public-private partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space. It uses advanced laser technology to relay information collected by lower orbiting satellites to the Earth via geostationary nodes.
The initial two European Data Relay System space nodes comprise the first phase of a future satellite relay network that will be able to transmit information from any part of the world to another. The programme evolution is called EDRS Global (formerly GlobeNet); an extension of the EDRS programme. The first two geostationary nodes relay data from low-orbit satellites to Europe, Africa and the Atlantic. EDRS Global will expand EDRS to global coverage by placing satellites over other continents and oceans such as Asia, the Pacific and the Atlantic.
It is key to fostering enhanced optical capabilities in the form of even higher data rates and reducing integration obstacles by designing lighter, compact and more efficient terminals, particularly for smaller satellites and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.
EDRS Global Phase 1 supports the development of EDRS user terminals and services, as well as supporting the wider adoption of EDRS by other users, in particular in the security domain.
EDRS Global Phase 2 aims to complement the first two nodes EDRS-A and EDRS-C with an additional geostationary data relay capability planned for launch in 2020 to improve global coverage.