Second EDRS Space Laser Satellite by Europe

James Marshall
August 7, 2019

The Intelsat 39 telecommunications satellite will serve broadband networking, video and government customers across Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean region, replacing Intelsat 902, which was launched back in 2001 and had already exceeded its 13-year design life expectancy.

EDRS-C is part of a public-private partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus, and the second in the "SpaceDataHighway" network - more formally known as the European Data Relay System.

The first satellite, EDRS-A, was launched in January, 2016, on board a Proton rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

The spacecraft is created to provide connectivity over Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

It's used predominantly by the European Union's Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 Earth statement spacecraft. These platforms take pictures of the planet's surface.

Regularly, in order to send data to Earth, satellites had to wait until they passed over a radio receiving dish on the ground in order to establish a connection. Between a third and a half of all picture data from Sentinels 1 and a couple of is now routed by way of EDRS, and utilization is for sure to expand with the second node now in orbit.

The relay platforms orbit a lot increased within the sky - some 36,000km in altitude - and always have visibility of a radio antenna on the ground.

The capability has particular relevance in the realm of natural disasters, such as major floods or big earthquakes.

Information about the scale of those emergencies may be put within the hands of first responders a lot faster than would usually be the case.

EDRS-C is slightly smaller and lighter than its co-passenger on the Ariane 5 rocket.

"We have demonstrated that it's possible to get a Sentinel image on the ground and ready to use after just 15 minutes of it being acquired", Magali Vaissiere, the director of telecoms at Esa, told BBC News. Future satellites will also be created to be able to take use of the EDRS.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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