BERLIN, Feb. 11, 2016 — The European Space Agency has launched the first satellite of its SpaceDataHighway data relay structure, housing optical components made by Berliner Glas Group. EDRS-A, the first element of the European Data Relay System (EDRS) constellation of geosynchronous satellites, was launched into geostationary orbit by a Proton rocket on board the Eutelsat 9B communications satellite. EDRS will relay data between satellites, spacecrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles and ground stations, ensuring that low-orbiting devices will be able to send their information down to Earth in near-real time. EDRS-A is equipped with a laser communication terminal developed by Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co. KG., containing several optical components and systems manufactured by Berliner Glas. Copernicus, the European Earth-monitoring program, will be the first user of the SpaceDataHighway. Copernicus’ Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-2A satellites, already located in low-Earth orbit, are equipped with laser communication terminals. Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-2A will soon transmit their data to EDRS-A via laser and sent directly to Earth. EDRS-C, the second geostationary satellite of the EDRS, will be launched into orbit on board an Ariane 5 rocket. EDRS-C will compelte the second section of the SpaceDataHighway. The SpaceDataHighway is a commercially operated data relay infrastructure, facilitating immediate data transfer for low-Earth-orbit satellites and airborne platforms.