On Wednesday 10th July, the European External Action Service hosted a live demo of the 'Space data highway' capability through a real-time link with the EU Delegation in Tokyo. The European Data Relay System (EDRS) or 'Space data highway', which has benefited from EU funding, is the world’s first laser-link in the sky, based on cutting-edge laser technology from Europe. It allows transferring large volume of data, notably images, from other satellites in space to the Earth in quasi real-time.
This system is a public–private partnership between Airbus, the European Space Agency and the European Commission, with the Copernicus system being its first long-term customer. In the framework of the Europe-Asia connectivity strategy and as part of the EU’s efforts to promote European technological excellence around the world, this event represents the beginning of a new era for space-based imagery users - and in the near future for a secured airborne connectivity. The live demo image has been held simultaneously between the European Maritime Safety Agency in Lisbon, the EEAS HQ in Brussels and the EU Delegation in Tokyo.