The SpaceDataHighway is a public–private partnership between ESA (European Space Agency) and Airbus Defence and Space. The laser terminal was built by TESAT-Spacecom, an Airbus Defence and Space subsidiary, and funded by the DLR German Aerospace Center. The European Commission is the first Customer of the SpaceDataHighway. The 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.
The SpaceDataHighway will provide data transmission in broadband quality in near-real time through high-precision laser. This makes it ideal:
- to transfer time-critical and sensitive information
- to gain faster and longer access to your air and space assets
- to securely transfer information in hostile electronic warfare environment
- to ensure stealth communication
- to transfer large volumes of data generated by powerful sensors or to enable Combat Cloud concept
As the owner and operator of the SpaceDataHighway, Airbus Defence and Space is targeting a global deployment, offering opportunities for international partnerships. Pacific Rim Area is where we see an increasing needs for data relay and airborne missions. We are aiming to expand the capacity and coverage of the system by 2020, with a third satellite positioned over the Asia-Pacific region.