ESA today unveiled the first Sentinel-1 satellite images sent via the European Data Relay System's world-leading laser technology in high orbit.
The two images were taken by the radar on the Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite over La Reunion Island and its coastal area. The first was scanned in a high-resolution mode, the second in a wide-swath mode that provides broad coverage of surrounding waters, and used in particular for maritime surveillance.
Sentinel-1A, sweeping around the globe at 28,000 km/h, transmitted the images to the EDRS-A node in geostationary orbit via a laser beam at 600 Mbit/s. The laser terminal is capable of working at 1.8 Gbit/s, allowing EDRS to relay up to 50 TB a day. EDRS immediately beamed the data down to Europe.
The transfer between the two satellites was fully automated: EDRS connected to Sentinel from more than 35,000 km away, locking on to the laser terminal and holding that link until transmission was completed.