Airbus Defence and Space has announced that it will expand its SpaceDataHighway data transmission service to reach Asia-Pacific by the year 2020.
This will be achieved by adding a third communications node, known as the EDRS-D, to the existing EDRS-A and EDRS-C nodes already developed. EDRS-A was launched in 2016, while the launch of EDRS-C is planned for 2017.
The launch of EDRS-D will enable near-real-time satellite data transmission and increased transmission capacity, to at least 50 TeraBits per day. It is hoped that the system will help solve time-critical or unforeseen data requirements, such as in the events of emergency response, surveillance and wide-area monitoring.
The SpaceDataHighway is a Public-Private Partnership between Airbus and the European Space Agency (ESA), who will jointly develop the new technology needed for the satellite, ground and other systems required for the network. Other than the EDRS-D, innovations currently being developed include ultra-broadband laser communication between geostationary satellites.
Although the SpaceDataHighway is meant to be used for commercial purposes, it will also provide data relay services to ESA’s Columbus module in the ISS by the year 2018.