The European space program is to employ a laser network for its future endeavors. The recent launch of Eutelsat was a part of this effort.
Europe has begun what is essentially an information superhighway in the vast depths of outer space. This is via a telecommunications satellite. It was launched from Kazakhstan a few days ago.
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Laser beams will be utilized to collect pics of the planet taken by other spacecraft, according to WSJ. They will then be sent to earth. The main benefit of this scheme will be to put information regarding floods and other natural disasters into the hands of the agencies that could do something about them.
This process had been a slow one up until now. But now it can be made quicker than usual. Most of the pictures had been taken from ground level. Therefore the lag in relay was to be expected.
This will not be so anymore though. Normally, the spacecraft are able to beam in the images over a receiving dish. And the window of opportunity is just 10 minutes in a 90 minute orbit of the planet that the satellite makes.
The ESA wants to send the pictures up into the sky instead as an alternative method. Two observer technologies were sent to space for this express purpose recently.
These will be able to offload their information via the new relay satellite. Thus within a few minutes of the pics being taken, they can be sent to people on earth.
There are a host of applications for which this technology could come in handy. From pollution to illegal fisheries and pirates on the ocean, the number of applications are innumerable.
It can even help marine vessels navigate their way through the ice-crust on the waters by notifying the authorities beforehand about it.
The EDRS (European Data Relay System) is a project that has been in the pipeline since the past decade or so. The goal is to get satellites to virtually communicate with each other like human beings converse with one another.
Some of the difficulties encountered along the way include precision issues. The laser beams have to be very razor sharp in their delivery and reception.
But once the whole setup of laser satellites is in its place, the data will be able to move along at superfast speeds from one point to another.
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The Paris-based Eutelsat is just one of the many projects that are being implemented for the sake of this goal. The future looks bright with these new technologies ready to be instituted in the depths of space.