Astrium Services (ASV), a company dedicated to the development and promotion of satellite services, has been awarded a Phase 0 contract by ESA for a study related to the development of a European Data Relay Service (DRS) capability.
The DRS capability is based on Geostationary Telecommunication Satellites. They allow to establish two-way large bandwidth telecommunication links between User Platforms in space and the End User on the ground. DRS services have particular additional advantages for a number of User Platforms such as LEO Earth Observation Satellites and Manned or Unmanned Scientific Missions in near-earth orbit or in deep space.
Those advantages are the longer visibility period of the User Platform from the GEO orbital position compared to an Earth Station and the related improved performance of the relay capability. Equally, problems of congestion of the X-band relay links to and from the User Platforms over polar Earth Stations can be avoided.
Therefore, DRS is an essential future capability to enhance or enable European programs that build on those User Platforms. In particular, it is assumed that a DRS capability serving GMES and next generation reconnaissance Earth Observation Satellite systems would be of particular interest: DRS will fulfil their more and more stringent requirement, particularly stemming from such applications as Crisis Management, Security, Humanitarian Aid but also from system effectiveness and efficiency requirements, for delivery of the freshest information to the end-users and for (nearly) real time tasking services
To substantiate the assumptions made so far by various stakeholders and investigate the technical feasibility of such a system, the Study has undertaken to:
- Identify prospective User Groups of a DRS Capability; Map potential capability gaps and user needs,
- Outline overall capability scenarios and deployment milestones,
- Provide budgetary estimates for the infrastructure as well as operations and services,
- Give indications of possible funding and revenues,
- Indicate the viability of a Business Case.
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