Zurich – Next week, the European data highway satellite EDRS-C will begin its journey into outer space. The Greater Zurich Area has also contributed expertise to this project. For example, the aerospace company RUAG Space has provided both the thermo-insulation and computer on board.

The data highway satellite EDRS-C will start its journey into outer space on August 6, 2019. The mission aims to further expand the European Data Relay System (EDRS), a joint venture between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus. It will help earth observation satellites to transfer in real time huge volumes of potentially life-saving data to Europe. According to information provided by the ESA, EDRS is the most advanced laser communication network developed so far.

The EDRS-C satellite is protected in outer space by way of thermo-insulation from RUAG Space against both the heat and the cold. According to a press release issued by the Zurich-based aerospace company, the insulation comprises several layers of metal-evaporated polyimide film, each of which is thinner than a human hair. Optical solar reflectors also ensure that the excessive heat created by the spacecraft is siphoned off into outer space in order to protect the satellite’s payload. Peter Guggenbach, CEO of RUAG Space, commented: “We are the European market leaders for thermal insulation in satellites”.

In addition to the thermo-insulation, the satellite’s “brain” – the on-board computer – was also provided by RUAG Space. This controls and monitors the payload of the satellite and other subsystems

The Ariane 5 launch vehicle will be used to propel the EDRS-C into outer space. The Ariane 5’s payload fairing was also developed by RUAG Space. The payload fairing protects the satellite against inclement weather on the launch pad, against acoustic impacts after ignition of the aircraft and against air resistance and frictional heat during the flight. The payload fairing is shed at an altitude of approximately 110 km above the earth.

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