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The European Data Relay System (EDRS) is the most sophisticated laser communication network ever designed. Dubbed the ‘SpaceDataHighway’, EDRS will help Earth-observing satellites to transmit large quantities of potentially life-saving data down to Europe in near-real time. Its two geostationary satellites use optical links to gather low-orbiting satellites’ information at far higher data rates than traditional radio frequency beams.

EDRS will provide near-realtime data where it matters the most. Disaster relief efforts and the maritime sector will use the system to get information when it counts. The International Space Station will also use EDRS to relay its findings down to Earth. The system will serve the Copernicus Sentinels as its anchor customers.

EDRS is a public–private partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space.