Aireon succesfully launches 10 ADS-B satellites


AVIONICS / ASIA | 16/01/2017

Aireon has recently launched and succesfully deployed the first 10 satellites hosting its space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) system.

Part of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, Aireon’s space-based ADS-B network will provide real-time air traffic surveillance and flight tracking across the entire planet. Currently, more than 70% of the earth, including oceanic and remote airspace, has no existing air traffic surveillance.

“This successful first launch brings us one step closer to changing the way the world flies by enabling the ability to track aircraft anywhere on the planet,” comments Aireon CEO Don Thoma. “Once our global ADS-B surveillance service is fully deployed, every ADS-B equipped aircraft can have its precise location accounted for 24/7.”

Iridium has partnered with SpaceX for a series of seven launches over the course of 18 months out of Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. All 81 Iridium NEXT satellites are equipped with the AireonSM payload. Once in orbit, each satellite will undergo extensive testing by the Iridium team. After approximately 40-60 days, Iridium will hand-off the ADS-B payloads to Aireon for verification of on-orbit technical specifications. Aireon will then conduct rigorous independent testing and validation of the space-based ADS-B system for approximately 60 days. As part of this testing and validation process, Aireon’s ADS-B receivers will provide air traffic surveillance data through the Aireon network to the Service Delivery Points (SDPs) at partners NAV CANADA, NATS, ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), as well as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ.

Also read: FAA ADS-B rebate website is live

“Few technologies exist today that, by simply reimagining their implementation, can have such a dramatic, positive impact on safety, efficiency and the environment,” adds NAV CANADA CEO Neil Wilson. “Aireon is poised to revolutionize air traffic management over much of the planet, and we’re looking forward to an aviation industry where everyone will reap the benefits of 100% global air traffic surveillance.”

Aireon, formed by Iridium Communications and investors NAV CANADA, ENAV, the IAA and Naviair, will be operational in 2018. The advent of space-based ADS-B is expected to show a remarkable ability to increase safety and efficiency while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions.