Europe launches laser satellite to space2019|01:19
The European Space Agency and Airbus have launched their second space laser satellite, the EDRS-C. It was sent into space on an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou in French Guiana on Aug 6.The EDRS-C will join its sister satellite, the EDRS-A, and operate in geostationary orbit, according to the European Space Agency. This is approximately 35,786 kilometers above the surface of the Earth, according to Science Direct.Both form part of the European Data Relay System, a satellite constellation.The BBC reports that they will use lasers to collect data from lower orbit Earth satellites called Sentinels. These watch over the planet and capture images of the surface."According to the ESA, the Sentinel-1 orbits at 693 kilometers high, while Sentinel-2 orbits at 786 kilometers.The EDRS can relay data back to Earth at a rate of up to 1.8 gigabits per second. According to the ESA, these satellites were previously only able to transmit information to earth whenever they were in direct line of sight with a ground station. This was every 90 minutes.The addition of EDRS-C cuts that delay to almost nothing, allowing satellites to send data to Earth in almost real-time. The ESA explained that the technology would allow for a faster response to emergency situations.According to the BBC, a third satellite, EDRS-D, is expected to launch before 2025.