Aireon Takes Full Control of First ADS-B Hosted-Payload
Thursday, 2 March 2017 08:00
Last updated 12 weeks ago.
Major milestone kicks off initial validation of space-based ADS-B surveillance
MCLEAN, VA (March 2, 2017) – Aireon announced today that they have formally received control from Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) of the first Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) payload hosted on an Iridium NEXT satellite. This is a major milestone on the path towards 100 percent global air traffic surveillance. Aireon now begins a rigorous, in-depth testing and validation process, verifying the capability of the ADS-B payloads.
Known as an Initial Performance Verification (IPV), this process will last approximately two weeks before transitioning to a Detailed Performance Verification (DPV) that will focus more specifically on calibrating the payloads for optimal performance. Procedures for the IPV were under development for over a year with valuable insight provided by Iridium, Harris Corporation, NAV CANADA and the Federal Aviation Administration.
“When we first turned on the payloads after they reached orbit, we received an unexpected surprise – aircraft were immediately being seen in real-time,” said Aireon CEO, Don Thoma. “We’ve already seen commercial aircraft, general aviation aircraft and helicopters, in oceanic and remote airspace that have never before had real-time surveillance. The real fun for us now begins as we take control and push the performance to see just what space-based ADS-B can do.”
In late January, the first “power-on” for the AireonSM ADS-B payload was performed to validate launch survival and run a self-diagnostic systems check. During this systems check, Aireon did not expect to see any aircraft, however the payload antennas were active and 150 ADS-B aircraft were detected over multiple-passes with thousands of ADS-B messages received and decoded. Among some of the firsts for the Aireon system are:
The first officially received ADS-B message was Korean Airlines 530
The first full ADS-B position message decode was SAS 4576
The first U.S. carrier ADS-B message was UA 86 to Shanghai
The first aircraft detected landing at an airport was NextJet 594 in Sweden
“Detecting NextJet 594 was an added bonus,” said Vincent Capezzuto, CTO for Aireon. “This is an early proof-point of the power of the Aireon ADS-B payload and its ability to detect aircraft close to the ground and in terminal airspace.”
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. It is expected to help reduce fuel costs, increase safety, and enable more efficient flight paths. The first 10 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 mid-June 2017. In total, the operational constellation consists of 66 satellites, while the remaining nine launched will serve as on-orbit spares.
About Aireon LLC
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, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), ENAV and Naviair, as well as Iridium Communications, Aireon will have an operational, global, space-based air traffic surveillance system by 2018. For more information about Aireon, visit: aireon.com.
FlightAware is the world's largest flight tracking data company and provides over 10,000 aircraft operators and service companies as well as over 12,000,000 passengers with global flight tracking solutions. FlightAware leverages data from air traffic control systems in over 55 countries, from FlightAware's network of over 8,000 ADS-B ground stations in over 140 countries, and using global datalink. For more information about FlightAware, visit: flightaware.com