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EDRS (European Data Relay System)

The SpaceDataHighway: Near-real-time data transfer from space

EDRS (European Data Relay System) is the most advanced high-performance option for space data transfer, providing broadband-quality data transmission for satellites and UAVs in almost real time.


In October 2011, Airbus Defence and Space was selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as the partner to design, deliver and operate the European Data Relay System (EDRS), the SpaceDataHighway.


As prime contractor, Airbus Defence and Space will build, own, operate and co-finance the system infrastructure. Airbus Defence and Space will also implement and provide the data transmission services to ESA and third party customers worldwide. ESA is funding the infrastructure development and is the anchor customer through the Sentinel satellite missions. The SpaceDataHighway provides the data relay services for the Sentinel satellites facilitating a rapid downlink of large volumes of imagery.


The SpaceDataHighway infrastructure consists of two geostationary payloads (two further payloads are in the planning stage), a ground system consisting of a satellite control centre, a mission and operations centre, a ‘feeder link’ ground station (FLGS) and data ground stations.


The first EDRS payload, comprising a laser communications terminal and a Ka-band inter-satellite link, will be carried on board Eutelsat 9B, a new commercial communications satellite, which will be launched beginning 2016 and positioned at the 9°E orbital location.

A second dedicated spacecraft, also carrying a laser communications terminal, will follow and will be positioned at 22.5°E. These two elements form the initial core space infrastructure providing direct coverage for low Earth orbit satellites flying over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, Asia and the poles.

Two further spacecraft are planned to complement the system in 2017 and 2019 respectively, affording complete coverage of the Earth and providing long-term system redundancy beyond 2030.


More information on

Visit the EDRS website for further information: