MCLEAN, Va. Part of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, Aireon’s space-based ADS-B network will transform air traffic management (ATM) capabilities, providing real-time air traffic surveillance and flight tracking across 100 percent of the planet. Currently, more than 70 percent of the earth, including oceanic and remote airspace, has no existing air traffic surveillance.
“Today is a landmark moment in history for global air traffic surveillance, air traffic safety. and the aviation industry as a whole,” says Aireon CEO Don Thoma. “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. Once our global ADS-B surveillance service is fully deployed, every ADS-B equipped aircraft can have its precise location accounted for 24/7.”
Once in orbit, each satellite will undergo extensive testing by the Iridium team. After approximately 40 to 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, which were manufactured by Harris Corp., with headquarters in Melbourne, Florida, 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, New Jersey.
“Few technologies exist today that by simply reimagining their implementation can have such a dramatic, positive impact on safety, efficiency and the environment,” says Neil Wilson, president and CEO, NAV CANADA. “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 percent global air traffic surveillance.”
All 81 Iridium NEXT satellites are equipped with the Aireon payload.
Aireon, formed by Iridium Communications and investors NAV CANADA, ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority (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, as noted in studies conducted by the Flight Safety Foundation and Purdue University, in addition to signed agreements with many of the world’s leading ANSPs.
“This launch signifies the beginning of a new era in air traffic surveillance that would not have been possible without the incredible work of our talented team and the support of all of our partner organizations,” explains Eamonn Brennan, chief executive of the Irish Aviation Authority. “This is a transformational technology that will equip Aireon customers with the most advanced air traffic surveillance capabilities available.”
The network will also provide a new service known as Aireon ALERT, a free global emergency-aircraft tracking service that will be hosted and operated by the IAA.
Earlier this year, Aireon also announced a partnership with FlightAware, and together launched the GlobalBeacon flight tracking service. GlobalBeacon is designed to help airlines comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) requirements, and will provide airlines with minute-by-minute flight tracking data.
"Many congratulations to both Aireon and Iridium on the success of their first launch,” says Juliet Kennedy, operations director for NATS. “We look forward to further successes with the remainder of the launch program and what this will mean for operations over the North Atlantic, the world's busiest area of oceanic airspace.”
Aireon is deploying a global, space-based air traffic surveillance system for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft over the entire globe. For the first time, Aireon will provide real-time ADS-B surveillance to oceanic, polar and remote regions, as well as augment existing ground-based systems that are limited to terrestrial airspace. Aireon will harness next generation aviation surveillance technologies and extend them globally to significantly improve efficiency, enhance safety, reduce emissions and provide cost savings benefits to all stakeholders. In partnership with leading ANSPs from around the world, NAV CANADA, ENAV, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) and Naviair, as well as Iridium Communications, Aireon will have an operational, global, space-based air traffic surveillance system by 2018.
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