1090 Global

Initial Operational Test of Aireon Payloads

I still have the sight and unbelievable sound of the January 14th SpaceX launch etched into my memory. Twelve days after the delivery of 10 brand new Iridium NEXT satellites to low-earth-orbit, aimed at replacing the legacy “Block 1” satellites, Aireon was able to validate that the ADS-B payloads survived the launch. The initial operational tests conducted were planned to command the payloads power-on and verify that self-test parameters were successfully communicated through the on-board processor and space-to-earth communications link. Additional tests included commanding of redundant functions providing assurance that…

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It Gets Chilly Up There: Time for a Whole New Type of “Space Heater”

Orbiting the earth at thousands of miles per hour can make for some pretty intense temperature swings.  The Iridium NEXT satellites, and their AireonSM hosted-payloads move in and out of direct sunlight on each orbit, which occurs approximately 14 times per day.  To account for the extreme shifts in temperature, the engineers behind Aireon’s system installed electric heaters inside the payload housing to keep the electronics from freezing over.  These new “space heaters” are needed when the Aireon payload is powered off for extended periods of time. This can occur…

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Getting to Launch (literally).

You may have read recently about SpaceX returning to flight after their September 1st anomaly. They are moving forward with the preparations for launching the first ten Iridium NEXT satellites on January 14th.  This event highlights another important milestone for Aireon and our mission to provide 100 percent-global air traffic surveillance. Weighing in at approximately 1,900 pounds per Iridium NEXT satellite, nearly 400 modules were produced to maintain the signature “cross-linked” infrastructure of the Iridium constellation that enables global, instant satellite-to-satellite communication. The Aireon ADS-B payload is approximately the size…

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Through the Lens of Safety

After spending a few days at the CANSO Global ATM Safety Conference last week, I realized how the global aviation community is truly seeking to apply best practices towards increasing safety for all Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs).  The idea that competing ANSPs would share data regarding their airspace and services to their mutual customers seemed counter intuitive. Yet, there they were, over 40 ANSPs wrestling with performance metrics for loss of separation and runway incursions. The appeal for sharing this data and mobilizing the CANSO safety community members to…

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