Three Aireon payloads get 2,462 FAA test aircraft ADS-B messages

Aireon and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have made a successful flight test of space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology, collecting ADS-B data to be used as part of a larger validation effort exploring the new system´s capability from low-earth orbit, the companies said.

The flight utilized FAA´s specially equipped “flying laboratory” Bombardier jet with three Aireon payloads available to receive data.

A total of 2,462 ADS-B messages were received and decoded providing comparable data to that of terrestrial ADS-B stations.

The FAA Tech Center is a pillar of NextGen infrastructure and home to some of the most important advancements in aviation industry history. Among the tests being conducted by the Tech Center team will be the comparative analysis of the Aireon space-based ADS-B data to that of existing ADS-B ground-station data.

Aireon´s space-based ADS-B system will be operational in 2018, shortly after completion of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The service will provide Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) with global air traffic surveillance and airlines with real-time flight tracking.

The first ten Iridium NEXT satellites carrying the Aireon hosted-payloads were launched into low-Earth-orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, on January 14, 2017. Seven additional SpaceX launches are scheduled to take place over the next 12 to 15 months, including the second launch now targeted for June of 2017. In total, the operational constellation will consist of 66 satellites, with an additional nine serving as on-orbit spares.

Aireon is deploying a global, space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system capable of surveilling and tracking ADS-B equipped aircraft around the globe in real-time. The system will be used to provide ADS-B coverage that will span oceanic, polar and remote regions, where current surveillance systems are limited to line-of-site and densely populated areas.