Airbus Defence and Space selects Arianespace to launch EDRS-C Satellite

The second SpaceDataHighway stationary satellite will be launched on Ariane 5 built by Airbus Defence and Space

Mar 19, 2015 -- Airbus Defence and Space and Arianespace have reached an agreement for the launch of EDRS-C which is the second geostationary satellite of the SpaceDataHighway system. The launch is scheduled for the first quarter in 2017. EDRS-C will increase the system capacity and provide redundancy for the SpaceDataHighway. Its orbital position will be 31 East.

Like optical fibre 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.

EDRS-C is a dedicated satellite, unlike EDRS-A which is a hosted payload on the EUTELSAT 9B satellite. EDRS-C will carry amongst others the EDRS payload which main component is the Laser Communication Terminal built by Airbus Defence and Space’s subsidiary, TESAT enabling data transfer rates of up to 1.8Gbps.

“The SpaceDataHighway establishes a new standard for space communication” said Evert Dudok, Head of Communications, Intelligence and Security (CIS) Business Line, Airbus Defence and Space. “We are satisfied to launch EDRS-C on Ariane 5, the most reliable launcher in the World.”

“Arianespace is very proud to have been chosen by Airbus Defence and Space to launch EDRS-C”, said Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël. “We are grateful to Airbus Defence and Space for this decision which allows Arianespace to be part of this innovative European public private partnership”.

The successful tests recently achieved between Alphasat and Sentinel 1 satellites have proved that the laser technology developed by Airbus Defence and Space is now fully operational. The SpaceDataHighway will be operational early 2016 following the launch of the first node, EDRS-A, planned to be launched in summer 2015.

The SpaceDataHighway programme is developed and implemented within Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the European Space Agency and Airbus Defence and Space. As prime, Airbus Defence and Space builds, owns, operates and co-finances the system’s infrastructure. The German Space Agency, DLR, also plays a key role in the funding of EDRS and in the development and the operation of the ground segment. 50 companies in 13 European countries are involved in the EDRS consortium, allowing European space industry to stay at cutting edge of technology.

The Copernicus programme is the anchor customer of the SpaceDataHighway. The Sentinel 1 and 2 satellites are equipped with Laser Communication Terminals (LCT). It facilitates the full exploitation of the Copernicus space segment by improving data latency and system reactivity supporting time-critical and data-intensive applications.

Knut Natvig  
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