Last Friday, a Proton rocket placed the Eutelsat 9B spacecraft into geosynchronous transfer orbit. In addition to providing broadband television support to customers in Europe, Eutelsat 9B also carries a unique new payload: EDRS-A. EDRS is the European Data Relay System, a system analogous to the American TDRS constellation, but with a revolutionary new laser-based system for transferring data along the chain. Two more spacecraft are scheduled this year for EDRS, including one which will be dedicated to data relay functions rather than piggy-backing on a commercial commsat. The first customers for the EDRS will the two Sentinel satellites, but the consortium operating EDRS hopes to get many more government and commercial customers.