High speed satellite imagery transfer service realised

April 18th, 2018, Published in Articles: PositionIT

The Airbus-operated SpaceDataHighway has begun regularly relaying data from the Sentinel-2A satellite, after the successful end of the commissioning period. This marks the start of the service using all four Copernicus Sentinel satellites. The service will comprise a system of relay satellites permanently fixed over a network of ground stations, with the first satellite, EDRS-A, already in space. Each day, it can relay up to 40 TB of data acquired by observation satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft, at a rate of 1,8 Gbit/s. The relay satellites are designed to lock on to low-orbiting satellites via laser and collect their date, then immediately send the collected data down to Europe from its higher position hovering in geostationary orbit, acting as a go-between. This increases the capacity and speed of data transfer by allowing the lower satellites to continuously downlink their data, instead of having to store it until they travel over their own ground station. The service also brings added-value to Sentinel-1 users by improving the data timeliness for observations outside Europe, which is important when it comes to the routine monitoring of remote areas for maritime applications or assessment of natural disasters.

Contact Corné Eloff, Airbus Defence and Space, Tel 011 266-2614, corne.eloff@airbus.com

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