COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The European Data Relay Satellite System (EDRS), also known as the ‘space data highway’, is setting a new standard in real-time data transfer. The innovative laser nodes can transport data volumes of up to 1.8 gigabits per second to Earth, with minimal delay. The programme’s first communication node, EDRS-A, was launched on 29 January 2016, and is already providing relay services for data transfer from the four Sentinel satellites of the EU Copernicus Earth observation programme. The advantage is that the Earth observation satellites can deliver significantly more data to the ground faster and thus also better serve the end user (see info box). The first dedicated satellite in the series – EDRS-C – was designed, constructed and tested in Germany. It has been thoroughly tested over the past 11 months and will begin its journey to Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana in June 2019. It will be launched into a geostationary orbit on 24 July 2019 on board an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.