The European Data Relay System (EDRS) is the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed. Dubbed the ‘SpaceDataHighway’, EDRS will help Earth-observing satellites to transmit large quantities of potentially life-saving data down to Europe in near-real time.
EDRS consists of two geostationary nodes and an extensive network of European ground and control centres. The first half of the EDRS space segment is a hosted package on a Eutelsat telecom satellite (EDRS-A, at 9° East) and the second is a dedicated satellite using the SmallGEO platform (EDRS-C, at 31° East).
The main EDRS Mission Operation Centre is in Ottobrunn (DE) and managed by Airbus. The backup system is in Redu (BE), also managed by Airbus. MOCs manage the data they receive from both the control centres and the users. EDRS has ground stations across Western Europe, with its payload and spacecraft control centres in Oberpfaffenhofen (DE), managed by the DLR German Space Center. The receiving data and feeder link ground stations are in Redu, Harwell (GB), Weilheim (DE) and Matera (IT), and they pass on the information to the satellite owners.
Satellite owners can also use EDRS to give their satellites new instructions in near-real time.