Aireon launches 10 additional satellites in air traffic surveillance campaign

Aireon has announced the seventh deployment of its space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) payloads, hosted by the Iridium® NEXT satellite constellation, the company said.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and placed 10 new Iridium NEXT satellites into low earth orbit, bringing the total number of Aireon payloads in orbit to 65.

The company said it expects a single launch of 10 more Iridium NEXT satellites and their Aireon payloads before the launch campaign concludes later this year. The Aireon system is scheduled to go live in 2018 with operational deployment beginning shortly after that domestically in the Edmonton and Gander Flight Information Regions. Operational trials in oceanic airspace over the North Atlantic will begin in early 2019.

Upon completion of the new network, the Aireon system will enable capabilities for air navigation service providers (ANSPs), air traffic controllers, airline operators and industry stakeholders. Oceanic and remote airspace will, for the first time, have real-time air traffic surveillance, allowing further enhanced safety, as well as on-the-fly route adjustments, more direct flightpaths and increased predictability.

Iridium is the only satellite communications provider that covers the entire globe, ensuring that wherever an aircraft may fly, it will always remain in coverage with real-time communication. This capability has become increasingly important as airlines fly more routes over the North Pole, dramatically reducing flight time and fuel cost.

Aireon LLC will harness next-generation aviation surveillance technologies to improve efficiency, enhance safety, reduce emissions and provide cost savings benefits to all stakeholders. Real-time ADS-B surveillance will cover oceanic, polar and remote regions, as well as augment existing ground-based systems that are limited to terrestrial airspace. In partnership with leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) from around the world, like NAV CANADA, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), ENAV, Naviair and NATS, as well as Iridium Communications, Aireon will have an operational, global, space-based air traffic surveillance system in 2018. For more information, please visit