Near-Real-Time Data Transfer from Space

In Toulouse, France, at the Airbus Defense & Space facilities, European Space Agency (ESA) engineers and technicians are performing the final tests on Eutelsat's EB9B telecommunications satellite and its hosted payloads EDRS-A and the Italian space agency ASI's Opportunity Payload. EDRS stands for European Data Relay System and has been designed to provide Europe with a fast and reliable extension to its telecommunications network. EDRS-A is the first of two EDRS nodes and it will be launched on-board the Eutelsat satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 2015. Like optical fiber on Earth, the EDRS system, which is also referred to as SpaceDataHighway, will provide laser communications in space with data rates of up to 1.8 gigabits per second. The SpaceDataHighway will provide near-real-time data transfer from Earth observation satellites, drones, or aircrafts to Earth via geostationary communication satellites. It will be able to download faster, with shorter latency and in a secure way, larger volumes of image data, helping to improve environmental and security monitoring, disaster response, and crisis management.