Aireon launches first 10 ADS-B satellites

Aireon has successfully launched and deployed the first ten satellites hosting its space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) system, the company said.

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 100% of the planet. Currently, more than 70 percent of the earth, including oceanic and remote airspace, has no existing air traffic surveillance.

Iridium has partnered with SpaceX for a series of seven launches over the course of 18 months out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 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.

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 increase safety and efficiency while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The network will also provide a new service known as Aireon ALERTSM, a free global emergency-aircraft tracking service that will be hosted and operated by the IAA.

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, the company 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.