The first relay satellite of the SpaceDataHighway, EDRS-A, was successfully launched into geostationary orbit. After a test period, it will become operational for its first end-user customer by mid-2016.

The SpaceDataHighway system will provide high-speed laser communication in space at up to 1.8 gigabits per second. This major programme, which cost nearly €500 m to develop, is the result of a public-private partnership (PPP) between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Defence and Space.