German Technology to Improve Europe's 'Data Superhighway'
Europe is becoming increasingly independent when it comes to satellite telecommunication. This week, key figures in the sector signed contracts for the ground segment of the European Data Relay System (EDRS) at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt or DLR) site in Oberpfaffenhofen. This system will mean big improvements for the digital exchange of data, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Enlarge image Europe on the Globe (© picture-alliance/Image Source )
Currently, satellites are restricted in their relay of information to the window of time during which they pass over their ground stations. However, because the EDRS is based on two geostationary distributor satellites with fixed locations in space, it will be able to receive information from low-flying satellites and rely it to earth immediately.
"This will mean that significantly greater data volumes can be transmitted faster and for longer time intervals from space to Earth. Above all, this is of huge importance for environmental monitoring, for the emergency relief services, for example during natural disasters, and even for weather forecasting," explained Chairman of the DLR Executive Board Johann-Dietrich Wörner.
This improvement in environmental monitoring will also make it a central part of the EU Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program. The GMES is a world-wide initiative for satellite-based environmental and security monitoring.
"The European telecommunications infrastructure will be improved significantly," said Wörner. "With EDRS, geostationary data relay services will be available to our partners and clients worldwide operationally for the first time. The project includes developing the necessary technologies to build the infrastructure on the ground and in space and the reliable operation of the completed system."
Optical laser communications technology that was developed in Germany will also be making its premier transmitting data. At the end of 2014—when the development phase is slotted to be complete—the first two GMES satellites will connect to the new "data highway" in space.