While we Americans fight for our satellite radio rights, it looks like the Europeans are getting set to receive a bit of sky high radio entertainment themselves. The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that with the help of a few select partners, it plans to launch the "multimedia car radio of the future," which looks to feature built-in satellite radio and generous timeshifting functionality to boot. The antenna, which will presumably be factory installed on select vehicles, will be a "flattened mobile antenna integrated into the bodywork," and will receive signals in the "Ku" frequency band used by existing communication satellites. Aside from not having to launch an understandably expensive array of equipment to get sat radio to Europe, the service also touts the benefits of timeshifting, noting that a "cache or hard drive-based system" will be included to pause and rewind transmissions, and it would even maintain a connection for short stops (like refueling) so you don't miss a moment of your favorite broadcast. Unfortunately, the ESA isn't spilling any hard release dates for this technology, but we can expect it to hit BMWs at the very least, and the prototype can be seen right now at the Noordwijk Space Expo in the Netherlands if you just happen to be around.

[Via Orbitcast]

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ESA unveils plans for satellite radio in Europe