EDRS, the European Data Relay System, is developed and implemented under a Public Private Partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space. The system is based on two geostationary 'distributor' satellites that, because of their fixed position in space, will be able to receive high-speed communications from low-flying Earth observation satellites via laser and relay them to Earth without any delay. As a result, these satellites will no longer be restricted to brief contact windows when they pass over their ground stations. Furthermore users are able to send commands to their satellites via EDRS in near-real time.
The overall system is built and operated by Airbus Defence and Space. It features one dedicated satellite (EDRS-C) and one piggyback payload (EDRS-A). Both of them are positioned in the geostationary orbit with visibility over central Europe. EDRS-C is based on the new SmallGEO platform built by the German company OHB. The EDRS-A payload is hosted on the EUTELSAT 9B satellite and was launched on January 29, 2016. EDRS-C was launched on August 6, 2019. ESA acts as a major customer for Astrium paying for relay services of data from SENTINEL satellites.
The German Space Operations Center (GSOC) has built up the central ground stations in in Weilheim, Redu (Belgium) and Harvell (England) and will operate them from the DLR facility in Weilheim. It serves as the routine control center for both satellites, the EDRS-A payload and the EDRS-C satellite. Additionally, GSOC has performed the LEOP and IOT of EDRS-C.
EDRS-A auf EUTELSAT 9B
January 29, 2016
August 9, 2019
DLR / GSOC
Redu, Harwell, Weilheim, Matera