Data to be transferred from Sentinel-1A satellite via laser

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The polar-orbiting satellite, Sentinel-1A, which was launched by the European Space Agency on 3 April from Europe’s Spaceport Kourou in French Guiana, will transfer the data it collects via a laser communications terminal (LCT) of Tesat-Spacecom.

Sentinel-1A is the first satellite of the ESA Sentinel fleet, which has been developed specifically to provide large amounts of data and pictures for the Earth observation programme Copernicus.

Sentinel-1A will orbit the Earth at an altitude of a few hundred kilometres (in a low Earth orbit) and will provide all-weather, day and night radar imagery for land and ocean services.

The laser communications terminal includes several optical components and systems from Berliner Glas Group. These high-precision opto-mechanical systems guide and process the laser light, as well as operate as receiver channels for the laser communications terminal. ESA had strict requirements for the components to ensure error-free operation during the entire lifetime of the satellite in space.

The laser communications terminal on board Sentinel-1A is another component of the European Data Relay System (EDRS) and enables high-speed data transfers between the low Earth orbit and the geostationary Earth orbit.

The first high-volume data connection between the laser communications terminal on Sentinel-1A and a satellite in geostationary Earth orbit is expected to be made later this year.