Thales Alenia Space Switzerland, BridgeSat compete for space-to-ground laser business

by Peter B. de Selding

Thales Alenia Space Switzerland appears to be racing against U.S.-based BridgeSat to demonstrate, in orbit, space-to-Earth optical transmissions of data with terminals with size, weight and performance characteristics that would appeal to operators of Earth observation satellites.

Shown here is the EDRS-A satellite, part of an Airbus Defence and Space-managed program to relay Earth observation data, via optical links, to geostationary-orbit satellite to speed reception by users. Thales Alenia Space Switzerland, the former Ruag, has delivered eight EDRS flight units but its Optel-µ system is targeting different markets.

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