On 13 April 2011, the German aerospace contractor OHB System AG received approval to proceed with designing a European Data Relay Satellite (EDRS) to promptly transmit images of Earth from orbiting spacecraft back to ground stations.
The EDRS will be based on OHB System’s Small GEO spacecraft bus, a new development funded under a public-private partnership with the European Space Agency. The system will feature at least one dedicated spacecraft, that will be ready for operations by 2016, and a piggyback communications package to fly on a commercial broadcasting satellite, which should be launched in 2014.
Managed by the European Commission, the EDRS system will facilitate more rapid recovery of Earth observation imagery from Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme.
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