After the recently made investment in the ISS (International Space Station) by the UK Space Agency, the UK branch of international communications supplier MDA (MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd) has won a contract for the initial phase to provide the ISS’s European module with its own terminal for data relay. Valued at approximately 14 million Euros, the contract’s terminal delivery to the European Space Agency is forecast for the final quarter of 2016. Astronauts from Europe aboard the ISS have a current reliance on NASA’s communications framework to transfer vital data between ground-based stations and the European module, Columbus.
Once the Ka band terminal for data relay has been installed by MDA the scientists and astronauts from Europe will experience communicating via higher bandwidths, plus HD video images and scientific data will be delivered at faster speeds by the EDRS (European Data Relay System). They will also be able to shed some of their current reliance on the communication services supplied by NASA.