The second telecommunications satellite to join the constellation that forms the European Data Relay System (EDRS), EDRS-C has been fuelled and is just days away from launch.

EDRS uses unique laser technology to cut the time needed for Earth observation satellites to deliver information to the ground.

The European Space Agency (ESA) said in a statement: “It enables people to observe the Earth almost live, accelerating responses to emergency situations and spurring the development of new services and products, thereby creating jobs and prosperity.”

According to ESA, EDRS-C is now fuelled with a propellant and an oxidiser. It is the second node of the ‘SpaceDataHighway’ network.

The propellant and oxidiser will be ignited after the satellite has left its Ariane 5 launcher in the low-Earth orbit phase of the launch. These components will enable the telecommunications satellite to climb to its final, geostationary position, which is 36,000km above the Earth.

The remaining fuel will be used to maintain EDRS-C in its correct position during its expected 15-year lifetime.

EDRS is a novel, independent European satellite system, which is built as part of a public-private partnership between ESA and Airbus.

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The satellite is part of ESA’s initiative of stimulating technology developments and achieving economic benefits.

ESA EDRS project manager Michael Witting said: “Now that the satellite is fuelled, we are a step closer to placing it onto the Ariane 5 launcher and finalising it for launch.”

In February, Airbus collaborated with Japanese telecommunications satellite operator SKY Perfect JSAT on the design preparation of the third communication node (EDRS-D) of the SpaceDataHighway system.