France: Satellite manufacturer OHB AG has signed a final contract for the construction of a data-relay satellite that will use laser communications to speed delivery of European earth observation data to users.
OHB has been working on the European Data Relay Satellite System (EDRS) for about two years under a preliminary contract with Astrium Services, which is managing the EDRS system as a public-private partnership with the 20-nation European Space Agency (ESA). The final contract is valued at 157.5 million euros ($205 million).
OHB will be using its small-Geo platform, also developed with ESA backing, for the satellite, called EDRS-C. EDRS-C will carry a laser communications terminal built by Tesat Spacecom of Backnang, Germany, which is providing similar terminals for several European government earth observation satellites, to be launched into low Earth orbit.
The laser terminals will permit the Earth observation satellites to send data directly to the EDRS satellites in higher geostationary orbit at speeds of 1.8 gigabits per second, after which they are relayed to ground teams.
Source: Space News