Airbus Defence and Space

Telecommunications Press releases

Airbus Defence and Space contracts DLR for major parts of the EDRS ground network

• DLR will implement and operate four EDRS ground stations as well as the control centre for the satellite and payload

• Airbus Defence and Space Services advances implementation of the new space data highway (EDRS) enabling real-time data delivery supporting environmental protection, emergency response and security applications

• EDRS further enhances Europe’s independent, on demand access to satellite data and establishes a new world standard for satellite data transfer

25 June 2012 – Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space company, continues to drive the implementation of the European Data Relay System (EDRS). As prime contractor, Airbus Defence and Space has now contracted the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to implement and operate major parts of the ground network. The agreement signed in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, today covers the design, implementation, delivery and operation of four ground stations: two receiving stations for the EDRS-A satellite in Weilheim, Germany and one in Harwell, United Kingdom, as well as a transmitting and receiving station for EDRS-C in Weilheim, Germany, and a back-up station in Redu, Belgium.

As part of the agreement DLR will also implement and operate the payload control centre for EDRS-A and the satellite control centre for EDRS-C in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. The contract covers the entire nominal lifetime of the EDRS-A and EDRS-C missions until 2030 and has a value of around € 65 Million.

EDRS is a system of two geostationary satellites facilitating the data relay between Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites or UAVs and an associated ground segment. EDRS will enable satellites to immediately transfer data in broadband quality to the ground and will also provide the capability to re-programme satellites in almost real-time. This will ensure the timely acquisition and delivery of data following natural disasters and will support security applications, environmental protection and weather forecasting. Currently, LEO satellites can only be reprogrammed and images can only be received when the satellites pass over a specific geographic location with a dedicated ground station.

This new space data highway is implemented through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Defence and Space as programme prime, operator and service provider. The Sentinel satellites of the European GMES programme are the anchor customers for the new service with further data relay capacity available to third party customers worldwide.

"With EDRS, Europe is building the new data highway in space with Airbus Defence and Space as the major industrial partner," said Evert Dudok, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. "EDRS will enable Europe to improve the management of natural disasters, crises and security - to mention just a few examples - in an efficient and very sustainable way. Thanks to the investment of the German Federal Ministry of Economy the new EDRS laser communication technology is available in Germany. Thanks to our partner DLR, who we entrust today with the EDRS ground systems and satellite control, Airbus Defence and Space will be able to implement and operate this new data relay system. Thanks to ESA, Airbus Defence and Space is committed to the public-private partnership in EDRS with a view to opening new markets. Today's contract marks a major milestone in implementing this important space programme which will benefit all the citizens in Europe."


EDRS operation will commence with the launch at the end of 2014 of the first EDRS payload on-board the EUTELSAT9B commercial telecommunication satellite that will also be manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space followed by a second dedicated spacecraft in 2015.

Airbus Defence and Space has been selected after competition by ESA as EDRS Programme Prime due to the division’s global expertise in secure satellite communications, its experience as an Earth observation (EO) satellite operator and EO service provider as well as its heritage in innovative financing schemes.


How does EDRS work? Watch the animation on:



About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. In 2011, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover close to €5 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands.

Airbus Defence and Space is the sole European company that covers the whole range of civil and defence space systems and services.

Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure; Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment;  Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive fixed and mobile end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security and broadcast satellite communications equipment and systems, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Airbus Defence and Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2011, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 49.1 billion and employed a workforce of over 133,000.


Press contacts:

Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                       Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                                    Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                   Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                 Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41