The first transmission of satellite imagery via a gigabit laser communication transmission occurred between the radar sensor on Sentinel-1A and Alphasat satellites. The Laser Communication Terminal (LCT) technology is at the heart of the SpaceDataHighway project.
This high-speed transmission enables secure, high data rate communication between low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites or aerial platforms and geostationary satellites. The LCT technology has been developed by the Airbus Defence and Space subsidiary Tesat-Spacecom with the support of the German Aerospace Centre DLR.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is currently demonstrating the long distance laser link with real content from the Sentinel-1 Earth observation satellite in LEO orbit via an Alphasat communications satellite in geostationary orbit to the ground. During the demonstration, data transfer reached 0.6 gigabits per second of a possible 1.8 gigabits per second over 45,000 kilometers between sophisticated laser communication terminals.
The SpaceDataHighway will significantly improve data latency and system reactivity, making truly global near-real-time communication services available for the first time. The project is a private-public partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space.
Consult the following sites for more details on the SpaceDataHighway: