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Contractors get approval to design EDRS

France: The prime contractor Astrium Services and OHB-System AG, a subsidiary of OHB Technology AGĀ  signed an authorisation to proceed (ATP) for the development and construction of a satellite for the European Data Relay System (EDRS).

As per the last report on GeospatialWorld.net, the data relay system will have a capacity of 1.8 Gbps., sufficient to permit near-real-time transmission of remote-sensing data, something existing data relay satellite systems such as the US Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system cannot do.

Managed by the European Commission, the EDRS system will facilitate more rapid recovery of Earth observation imagery from Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security, or GMES, program. The GMES system will consist of a fleet of Sentinel satellites to provide comprehensive remote sensing data to monitor environmental changes, natural disasters and aid security efforts.

With the help of the EDRS system, the Sentinels could immediately send back imagery instead of waiting for up to hours before flying over a fixed ground communications site. It is the same concept NASA uses for its Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, a network of spacecraft to communicate with U.S. satellites in low Earth orbit and rockets ascending into space.

The contract signed between OHB System AG and Astrium Services is worth EUR 7.4 million. The agreement gives OHB System authority to proceed with designing a satellite to fly in geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth. The laser terminals will be built by Tesat-Spacecom, another German company.

The EDRS will feature at least one dedicated spacecraft and a piggyback communications package to fly on a commercial broadcasting satellite. OHB System will design and build the standalone EDRS platform in Bremen, Germany.

Germany is supplying the majority of the funding for the EDRS system. Astrium Services is overseeing its development. The piggyback communications system should be launched in 2014 and the OHB System spacecraft will be ready for operations by 2016.

The EDRS satellite will be based on OHB System’s Small GEO spacecraft bus, a new development funded under a public-private partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). OHB System expects its dedicated EDRS satellite will be worth EUR 150 million, when the company receives additional contracts.

Source: Spaceflight Now