SpaceDataHighway™ (SDH) is a public-private partnership between ESA (European Space Agency) and Airbus. The SpaceDataHighway service utilises the Airbus-owned and -operated European Data Relay System (EDRS) laser communication infrastructure to provide this high bandwidth capability for both LEO (low-Earth orbit) satellites and airborne platforms.
SpaceDataHighway enables users to transfer data (including imagery, video and voice) from their LEO satellites and airborne platforms by means of laser communications via the EDRS-A and EDRS-C geostationary satellites to receiving ground stations in Europe.
The SpaceDataHighway service represents an order of magnitude change in the speed of space communications, using cutting-edge laser technology and satellites in geostationary Earth orbit to deliver unique and secure data transfer services in real time.
Advantages of SpaceDataHighway:
The initial EDRS laser terminals were developed and built by TESAT-Spacecom, an Airbus subsidiary, and funded by the DLR German Aerospace Centre. The European Commission is the first SpaceDataHighway customer. The four Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites of Copernicus, the European Commission's Earth observation programme, are equipped with laser communication terminals that will significantly accelerate the delivery of large volumes of time-critical data to Earth monitoring centres within Europe.