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EDRS launch successful; first space data highway laser relay in orbit

KEY POINTS

  • ESA launched its first laser node of the European Data Relay System on Jan 29
  • The first node, EDRS-A, was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan atop a Proton rocket on at 22:20 GMT
  • EDRS-A was launched as a hosted payload on Eutelsat-9B, a commercial telecom satellite operated by Eutelsat
  • The laser terminal has reached space aboard its host satellite and is now under way to its final operating position
  • The satellite was released at 07:32 GMT on Jan 30, around 36 000 km over the equator
  • It will take its final geostationary position at 9°E over Europe, where it will be operated by Eutelsat
  • EDRS is a public–private partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space
  • Dubbed the ‘SpaceDataHighway’, EDRS will uniquely provide near-realtime Big Data relay services using cutting-edge laser technology
  • It will dramatically improve access to time-critical data, aiding disaster response by emergency services and maritime surveillance