MUNICH – The SpaceDataHighway system – the world’s first ‘optical fibre in the sky’ based on cutting-edge laser technology – has achieved 10,000 successful laser connections. The reliability rate has reached 99.8 percent, and during the first one and a half years of routine operations these successful connections have downloaded more than 500 terabytes of data.

 

The system’s satellites are designed to lock on to low-orbiting satellites via laser and collect their data as they travel in low Earth orbit scanning the Earth. From its position in geostationary orbit, the SpaceDataHighway acts as a relay, transmitting the large quantities of data acquired by these observation satellites down to Earth in near-real time at a speed of 1.8 Gbit/s, instead of storing the data on board until the satellites pass over their own ground station.

 

The establishment of the laser connections is controlled by the SpaceDataHighway’s Mission Operation Centre which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Airbus premises near Munich. Operators receive transmission requests from customers, programme the space and ground segment and monitor the performance of communications.