European Space Agency uses laser to gather pictures of the planet taken by other spacecraft.
In this new system the satellite, via laser will tramis the pictures to another satellite much higher in the sky that has a constant view of the ground station. By doing this the time taken for the picture to reach the space station is reduced as a satellite will send pictures only when they pass over a receiving dish and they will have visibility of this antenna for just 10 minutes in most cases during every 90-minute tour around the globe.
- Monitoring of pollution
- Monitoring ship’s onboard and reduce incidents
- Control illegal fishing or ocean piracy
- This system will systematically map the Earth, to help inform and enforce EU policies.
Highlights of the system:
- It opens up new horizon to a quasi real time Earth observation.
- With a successful connection, data will move at a rate of up to 1.8Gbps.
- The laser technology is very much a German development. Germany has invested more than 280m euros in the capability.
- Britain will also be a major downlink point for EDRS through a dish sited at Harwell in Oxfordshire.
Many weeks of testing lie ahead. A second relay satellite carrying another laser terminal will go up in 2017.