SpaceDataHighway by Airbus Defence & Space IS NO Longer science fiction
Laser Data transmission Service through EDRS-A IS NOW OPERATIONAL
Airbus Defence and Space began the initial service of its SpaceDataHighway on the 23rd of November 2016. This represents a step change in the speed of space communications.
Thanks to the laser technology developed by Tesat Spacecom, an Airbus Defence and Space subsidiary, the SpaceDataHighway will be able to transfer high-volumes of data from low orbit satellites, UAVs and surveillance aircraft, or even from a space station such as the ISS. As a result of this new laser communications technology and its high data rates (up to 1.8Gbit/s), we can now securely transmit up to 40 terabytes per day.
Moreover the geostationary orbit of the relay satellites, enable transfer in near-real-time for LEO satellites, as opposed to the delay of several hours currently experienced. "SpaceDataHighway is no longer science fiction. It will revolutionise satellite communications, and help to keep the European space industry at the forefront of technology and innovative services," said Evert Dudok, Head of the Communications, Intelligence & Security (CIS) business line at Airbus Defence and Space.
Discover how it works and typical uses
The European Commission is the first customer of the SpaceDataHighway system. The Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites of Copernicus, the European Earth observation programme, are equipped with laser communication terminals that will significantly accelerate the delivery of time-critical data and large volumes of data. In case of crisis or natural disaster management, up-to-date information is crucial for the authorities to prepare the most appropriate emergency response.
As lead contractor of the SpaceDataHighway PPP, Airbus Defence and Space co-finances, designs, manufactures and operates the system as well as commercialising it. The German national aeronautics and space research centre (DLR) is also participating in financing the system and also in the development and operation of the ground segment. Eleven European countries are also involved in the consortium.
Positioned at 9° East, this first communication node offers coverage from American East Coast until India. A second satellite will be launched in 2017, which will extend the coverage, capacity and redundancy of the system. Airbus Defence and Space is willing to expand the SpaceDataHighway with a third node, EDRS-D, to be positioned over the Asia-Pacific region. This third node will be the next step towards global optical fibre in the sky.