The Mission

The development and realization of a European Data Relay System (EDRS) by the European Space Agency (ESA) in the frame of the ARTES 7 program, will settle a new standard for space based communication services. A constellation of geostationary satellites will receive the data of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and transfer the data to the ground.  The geostationary position of the relay satellites fixed over Europe  will provide the following advantages to future earth observation applications:

  • Higher data-rates
  • Longer contact times for data dump
  • Real time access to data
  • Data security due to encrypted data down link

Based on Small GEO platform there will be a considerable number of design improvements implemented for EDRS-C, which will strengthen the future competitiveness for geostationary satellites:

  • Optimization of the chemical propulsion design for Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) injection.
  • Adaptation of the payload capacities for medium sized missions of 300 kg payload mass and 4 kW payload power.
  • Enlargement of the modular telemetry product-line to S- and Ka-Band, as well as implementation of secure encryption electronics.
  • Specific Equipment design modifications to improve cost of power- and data electronics.

The dedicated EDRS-C Satellite will embark a Data Relay Payload including a Laser Communication Terminal (LCT) for the inter satellite link and a Ka-Band antenna for the data transfer link to the ground stations in Europe. Every second the data of 1800 Megabit can be transferred over a distance of 45.000 km in the speed of light.
Furthermore, a Hosted Payload (HP) from the commercial operator Avanti Communications named “HYLAS-3” will be embarked on the satellite.
The decision to go ahead with EDRS under German lead management was made at the ESA council of ministers conference in Den Haag in 2008. It is now being implemented under the industrial leadership of Astrium in Germany with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

OHB contributions

OHB System will be building the dedicated EDRS-C  satellite on the basis of the SmallGeo platform, which is currently being developed under ESA’s ARTES 11 program.  Hence EDRS-C is already OHBs second telecommunication application on this platform.

The contract between OHB System and Astrium GmbH for Phase C/D/E  has been signed in May 2013. OHB System is prime contractor for the entire satellite.

OHB Sweden is a Core Team Partner in the Small GEO Telecom satellite programme and we are responsible for the attitude and orbit control subsystem on EDRS-C.


Astrium GmbH (customer)
Partners: Tesat-Spacecom, LuxSpace, OHB Sweden, Avio, DLR GSOC

Launch date

EDRS-C is scheduled for a 2019 launch.