Aireon and South Africa´s Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) have signed a Regional Commercialization Agreement to jointly develop the uses of space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data throughout the Southern part of the African continent.
The Regional Commercialization Agreement will establish the framework for facilitating the use of space-based ADS-B data in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. The Agreement will leverage ATNS´s leadership role in the SADC as the operator of the regional VSAT network to distribute space-based ADS-B data to remote locations over satellite links, thereby extending the surveillance capabilities to regions where ground-based communications are prohibitive.
In addition to air traffic surveillance, ATNS will work with regional Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) to collectively use space-based ADS-B data to develop a regional flow control solution that will complement the existing SADC VSAT network. Regional flow control will result in substantial cost-savings and operational benefits to the airlines and ANSPs in the region.
The timing of this agreement coincides with Iridium´s recent completion of its first Iridium NEXT satellites. The first Iridium NEXT launch with SpaceX is scheduled for this summer, when the company will launch 10 satellites using a Falcon 9 rocket out of the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Iridium NEXT constellation is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017, and the Aireon service will be fully operational in 2018.
Aireon is deploying a global, space-based air traffic surveillance system for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipped aircraft over the entire globe.
The Air Traffic and Navigation Service Company Limited (ATNS) is a South African state-owned company (SOC) Ltd, established in 1993 in terms of the ATNS Company Act (Act 45 of 1993) – to provide air traffic management solutions and associated services on behalf of the State. It is responsible for air traffic control in approximately 10 percent of the world´s airspace.