The European Space Agency has developed technology to transmit data directly from one satellite to another using lasers. This will allow a satellite to transmit direct to its controlling earth station via another satellite rather than via different earth stations. The agency plans to launch a telecommunications satellite, Artemis, in 1996 with an optical laser terminal for exchanging data with other satellites. The first test of the technology will come when the Spot 4 remote-sensing satellite is launched in 1997. Because of its orbit, Spot 4 would not be able to send its image data to any one ground station for more than 10 minutes at a time. When linked to Artemis, it will be able to transmit direct to its earth station in France.