Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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The island of La Reunion, an overseas region of France in the Indian Ocean, was imaged by Sentinel-1A radar on May 31, 2016, and relayed to Earth via laser. (Credit: Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA)

The island of La Reunion, an overseas region of France in the Indian Ocean, was imaged by Sentinel-1A radar on May 31, 2016, and relayed to Earth via laser. (Credit: Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA)

The European Space Agency (ESA) released the first Sentinel-1 satellite images sent via the European Data Relay System (EDRS), also known as the SpaceDataHighway. The two radar images were taken over La Reunion Island and its coastal area. Sentinel-1A, circling the globe at 28,000 kilometers per hour, transmitted the images to the EDRS-A node in geostationary orbit via a laser beam at 600 MB/second. The laser terminal is capable of working at 1.8 GB/second, allowing EDRS to relay up to 50TB per day. EDRS immediately beamed the data down to Europe. Transfer between the two satellites was fully automated: EDRS connected to Sentinel from more than 35,000 kilometers away, locking on to the laser terminal and holding that link until transmission was completed. “With today’s first link, EDRS is close to becoming operational, providing services to the Copernicus Sentinel Satellites for the European Commission,” noted Magali Vaissiere, ESA director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications.  

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